Colorado sees record lending to small businesses in SBA loan program

Colorado small businesses were loaned more money in 2011 through the U.S. Small Business Administration loan program than in years past.

The state had record breaking numbers SBA backed loans in 2011, which follows a national trend of increasing SBA-backed lending.

“Due to the Small Business Jobs Act and a return to pre-recession lending levels, over 61,000 small businesses had access to capital,” said Karen Mills, SBA administrator.

On the national level, small business loans backed by the SBA in 2011 reached the highest mark in the agency’s history, supporting more than $30 billion to 61,689 small businesses and start-ups through its two largest loan programs, compared to $22.6 billion for 60,771 loans in 2010 and $17.9 billion to 50,830 businesses in 2009.

In Colorado $620 million in total lending was supported by SBA and its lending partners in 2011. And, in El Paso County, $68.8 million was loaned to small businesses through SBA-backed loans.

“Our record setting numbers – both in dollar amounts and numbers of loans – were made possible by the strong partnership and commitment of our lending partners,” said Greg Lopez, Colorado district director.

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, Mills said.

SBA created two new programs to help fill those gaps: Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage.  The Advantage lending programs provide loans under $250,000 to incentive lenders to make smaller-dollar loans, especially in underserved communities.