News Column

Small Business Lending Rises in Florida

Oct. 13, 2012

Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel

small business, lending, loans, florida

Oct. 13--Seventeen banks in Florida and three in South Florida increased their small business lending through a federal loan program, according to a new report by the Treasury Department.

Broward Bank of Commerce in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Shores Bancorp. in Pompano Beach, Marquis Bank in Coral Gables, and Florida Traditions Bank in Dade City increased their lending by a total of $117 million as of June 30.

Broward's lending increased by 72 percent over the "baseline" set by the Treasury to measure the program. Florida Shores' lending was up by 21 percent. Marquis' lending rose by 132 percent and Florida Traditions by 132 percent.

Florida banks participating in the Small Business Lending Fund increased their lending by $250.82 million. The banks reported a total of $1.4 billion in loans, 21 percent more than the $1.2 billion baseline.

The 17 banks have $144.6 million in outstanding loans to small business through the program. The four South Florida banks have $28 million in outstanding small business loans from the fund.

The Treasury lending program expands previous loan limits. Banks can make larger loans under the program to small business. And larger businesses, those with under $50 million in revenue, can qualify for loans up to $10 million.

Nationwide, banks participating in the fund have increased their small business lending by $6.7 billion over the baseline, or 18.5 percent, and by $1.5 billion over the prior quarter.

The more a bank lends, under the new plan, the lower the interest rate charged by the Treasury.

The $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund was established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act signed by President Obama in 2010 to encouraged community banks with under $10 billion in assets to increase their lending to small firms.

The Treasury invested more than $4 billion in 332 institutions that operate in more than 3,000 locations across 48 states.

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