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Progress Through People speakers discuss small-business loans
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CADDA senior loan officer Teena Hicks offers details about small-business loans Thursday during a Progress Through People luncheon. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Even in a slow economy, entrepreneurs still can get loans to start up or refinance a small business.

This is the message Coastal Area District Development Authority senior loan officer Teena Hicks and loan officer Kelly Robinson shared with Liberty County Chamber of Commerce members Thursday during the chamber’s September Progress Through People luncheon. The event was sponsored by CADDA and The Heritage Bank.

Hicks described CADDA’s revolving loan fund, where the bank is the lead lender and services the loan. CADDA purchases a portion of the loan, she explained. This type of loan lowers the bank’s risk, Hicks said. The revolving loan fund also helps reduce paperwork, she said. CADDA does not charge the borrower additional fees, the senior loan officer added. Hicks said these loans generally are approved in 24-48 hours. CADDA offers the revolving loan in Liberty, Long, Bryan, Appling, Bacon, Brantley, Bulloch, Candler, Charlton, Effingham, Evans, McIntosh, Glynn, Camden, Chatham, Emanuel, Ware, Wayne, Pierce and Tattnall counties.

CADDA was founded in 1976, and in the past 35 years has loaned businesses more than $200 million and created 10,329 jobs, according to Hicks. In Liberty County alone, CADDA has loaned $23 million and created 1,100 jobs since the mid-’70s, she said.

CADDA is authorized by the Small Business Administration to offer SBA loans, including SBA 504 and SBA 7(A), according to Hicks.

SBA 504 loans are used “to finance fixed assets such as land, building and equipment on long-term, below-market fixed rates,” according to CADDA’s service area for the SBA 504 market includes Georgia, North Florida and lower South Carolina, according to the website.

Robinson said the SBA 504 loan divides the investment cost among the lenders and borrower. The participating bank would be responsible for 50 percent, SBA for up to 40 percent and the borrower must inject 10-20 percent, she said.

“Most banks require 20 percent or more from a borrower,” Robinson said.

Now through the end of September, SBA 504 has a record low 20-year fixed interest rate of 4.7 percent, the loan officer said.

“We’ve not seen it above 6 percent for more than a year,” Robinson said.

The SBA 7(A) loan is better suited for riskier ventures, because it gives banks a guarantee of up to 85 percent, she said.
“It allows the bank a little more comfort level,” Robinson said.

SBA 7(A) is used to refinance, pay franchise fees, purchase inventory and working capital and for business acquisitions, according to CADDA’s website.

For more information, go to, or call 912-236-9566 in Savannah or 912-261-2500 in Brunswick.

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