News Column

OK Small-business Lending Down from $261M in 2011

Oct. 14, 2012

Loans to small businesses in Oklahoma totaled more than $186.5 million in fiscal year 2012, down from the previous fiscal year when the state set a record in small business lending to borrowers who received more than $261 million for startup or expansion.

SBA loan enhancements that stimulated last year's surge have expired.

"In keeping with the national trend, Oklahoma's loan volume for fiscal 2012 is the second highest in the state's history," Dorothy Overal, Oklahoma district director said. "Small business lending in Oklahoma is still healthy. Three new Oklahoma lenders joined the SBA lending program and 10 lenders were approved for expanded loan approval authority. We are continuing to reach out to new lenders each day."

With loan volume steadily increasing for the past six quarters, the U.S. Small Business Administration's loan programs posted the second largest dollar volume ever in FY 2012, supporting $30.25 billion in loans to small businesses. That amount was surpassed only by FY 2011, which was heavily boosted by the loan incentives under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans.

Currently, people affected by the Cleveland County wildfires may qualify for federal disaster loans through SBA. Those people should begin the process by registering with FEMA at 800-621-3362.

The current near-record SBA loan pace was driven in part by a record year for the Certified Development Company (504) loan program, which supported $15.09 billion in small business credits. The strong performance of 504 loans was boosted by the temporary 504 refinancing program, which was responsible for 26 percent of the 504 program loans made in FY 2012 and 34 percent of the dollar volume. The recently expired 504 refinancing program was part of the incentive package under the Jobs Act.

"Reaching such strong numbers is a clear sign that both the business and lending communities are regaining their confidence in the economic climate of the country," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "It means that the credit markets are increasingly willing to help small businesses establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans."

Over the past year, SBA began streamlining and simplifying many of the loan programs in order to provide more access and opportunity for both lenders and small businesses. As part of this effort, SBA encouraged lenders to use more of their own paperwork and the agency's updated processing systems, so that more than 80 percent of its loan applications can now be processed online.

During the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, SBA loan approvals supported $30.25 billion --53,848 loans -- to small businesses.

For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov, or contact your local SBA field office. You can find contact information for your local SBA office at http://www.sba.gov/local resources/index.html.

Disaster victims who have registered with FEMA can apply for an SBA loan online using the electronic loan application at https://disaster loan.sba.gov/ela, or call SBA at 800-659-2955. Persons with a hearing impairment can call 800-877-8339. The disaster relief filing deadline for physical damage is Oct. 22.

Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2012 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.)