The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 264 loans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the first six months of fiscal year 2012, a 13 percent increase over loans approved during the same period the previous year, the agency said Thursday.
As of March 31, SBA loans in the district totaled $35 million, of which $24.8 million were approved under the agency’s 7(a) Loan Guarantee program. The SBA’s primary lending vehicle, the 7(a) program provides providing long-term financing to acquire equipment and machinery, inventory, fixtures and accessories, renovations, purchase land, build new buildings, purchase existing businesses, and for the repayment of debts.
“SBA lending in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has continued growing at a steady pace,” said SBA Acting District Director Francisco ‘Pancho’ Marrero. “We began to see an upward trend in 2009, after economic recovery enhancements to our loan programs were implemented, and then again with Small Business Jobs Act incentives. We are confident that SBA-backed lending in the district will soon be comparable to the pre-recession period.”
Of the total loans approved during the first half of fiscal year 2012, 38 loans for $4.2 million went to women-owned businesses, a 15 percent and 66.8 percent increase, respectively, over loans and dollars approved in 2011. Loans to veterans also experienced a rise, with a 50 percent and 90.7 percent increase, respectively, over loans and dollars approved the previous year.
In addition, 38 loans for more than $10 million were delivered under the agency’s 504 Certified Development Company program. This marked a 31 percent increase over the same period the previous year.
This loan program allows the SBA to promote economic development by creating jobs and providing small business owners long-term, fixed financing. The SBA said it has already helped to create or retain nearly 160 jobs as of March 31, under this program.
“Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets,” Marrero said. “It is one of the foundations of the infrastructure necessary to deliver financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves and create new jobs.”