Spurred in part by unprecedented loan volume in the year's first quarter, small business loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in FY2011 reached the highest mark in the agency's history, supporting over $30 billion, continuing the rebound begun in 2009 and returning to pre-recession levels in the final three quarters of the year.
During the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, SBA loan approvals supported $30.5 billion (61,689 loans) in lending to small businesses and start-ups through its two largest loan programs, compared to $22.6 billion (60,771 loans) in FY 2010 and $17.9 billion (50,830 loans) in FY2009.
In Montana over $137 million in total lending was supported by SBA and its lending partners in FY11. This amount included $112 million in 7(a) bank loans and $25 million in 504 Certified Development Company loans.
"We had a fabulous year," Joe McClure, Montana SBA District Director said. "We were excited to see so many Montana small businesses take advantage of the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act through our SBA loan programs."
"SBA-backed lending continued the upward trend we saw last year," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. "Due to the Small Business Jobs Act and a return to pre-recession lending levels, over 61,000 small businesses had access to capital. "
The FY2011 total is the highest volume fiscal year in the agency's history, surpassing the $28.5 billion mark established in FY2007. The first quarter of the year, at over $12 billion supported, was the most active single quarter ever for SBA-backed loans, with more than four times the dollar volume of the same quarter in 2009 – the first three months of the recession – and more than double the volume of any quarter over the past four years.
The unprecedented quarter was prompted by the enhancements provided under the Small Business Jobs Act, which were in effect. The loan enhancements allowed SBA to raise the guarantee on its 7(a) loans to 90 percent and waive fees on both its 7(a) and 504 loans.
While SBA lending has returned to pre-recession lending levels, there continue to be gaps in the marketplace and small businesses that need access to capital. To help fill these gaps, SBA created two new lending programs in FY2011: Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage. The Advantage lending programs provide streamlined applications for loans under $250,000 with the standard 7(a) guarantee in order to incentive lenders to make smaller-dollar loans. The smaller-dollar loans often go to underserved communities. Additionally, Community Advantage increases the points of access for small businesses by allowing "mission focused" lenders, such as CDFIs and micro lending.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103