PHILADELPHIA >> The Small Business Administration has set another record for lending to small businesses in the Philadelphia region.

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, which runs from Oct. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, the Small Business Administration loaned more dollars compared to the same time period in fiscal year 2017. Fiscal year 2017 was the highest year for dollars loaned in the agency’s history across the 40 eastern counties served by the agency’s Eastern Pennsylvania District.

Lending by the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program lending partners was up 40 percent in terms of the number of loans approved for small businesses and up 20 percent in total dollars loaned in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area — which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, compared to fiscal year 2017.

Small businesses received 273 loans for $70.1 million from Oct. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, with an average loan size of $257,049 through the SBA’s 7(a) program. That compares to 188 loans for $58.5 million with an average loan size of $311,501 for the previous year.

In the tri-county region, Montgomery County topped the list with a total of 68 loans being made by SBA 7(a) lending program partners for a total of $26,725,700. Following were: Chester County with 39 loans approved totaling $20,677,900; Delaware County with 32 loans approved totaling $14,928,200 and Berks County with 18 loans approved totaling $13,025,000.

“Lending in the first quarter is even stronger than last year, when lending in our district was at an all-time high for SBA’s flagship 7(a) program. This is fantastic news for small businesses and their communities. Ensuring access to capital for small businesses is a very important role for SBA and in my district, because capital is essential for small business success,” said Antonio (Tony) Leta, director, Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania District. “The continued growth of SBA lending in Eastern Pennsylvania reflects the robust relationships SBA enjoys with our lending partners, as well as the success of our lender education efforts.”

The 7(a) guaranteed loan program is the Small Business Administration’s primary lending program. The borrower applies to a lending institution, not the Small Business Administration, according to the agency’s website. Under the program, the lender applies to the Small Business Administration for a loan guaranty. Guarantees are up to $4.5 million of each loan made by participating lenders. Loans typically range from $25,000 to $5 million and are repaid in monthly installments. They can be used for a variety of business purposes including working capital, equipment acquisition, debt refinance, change of ownership and real estate purchases.

Results in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 were up across the entire 40 counties of the SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania District, not just the Greater Philadelphia Metro area. Lending through the 7(a) program is up 30 percent in the number of loans and nine percent in loan dollars.

In addition, lending through the agency’s 504 Certified Development Company Loan Program is also up nine percent in dollars loaned across the region in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. Eighteen loans totaling just over $19 million were approved in eastern Pennsylvania, compared to 21 loans for $17.5 million dollars over the same period in fiscal year 2017. The program provides growing businesses with long-term fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets such as land and buildings.

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