The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 335 loans for $43.8 million in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the first six months of fiscal year 2016, a 19 percent and six percent increase, respectively, over approvals during the same period in 2015, the agency said Wednesday.
“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our community,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “The dedicated efforts of SBA staff, and the outreach conducted by our lending and resource partners, have steered our loan activity to continue increasing steadily, reaffirming our commitment with entrepreneurship and our district’s economic development.”
As of March 31, 2016, loans approved in the district under the agency’s 7(a) Loan Guaranty program totaled 299 for $31 million, reflecting a 20 percent increase in loans approved and 31 percent increase in dollar volume over the same period the previous year. Four loans were approved under this program in the USVI for $1.5 million.
The SBA’s primary lending vehicle, the 7(a) Loan Guaranty program provides 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-certified lenders in Puerto Rico include Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Banco Santander Puerto Rico, Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico, FirstBank de Puerto Rico, Oriental Bank and Scotiabank of Puerto Rico.
In addition, 36 loans for $12.5 million were delivered under the agency’s 504 Certified Development Company program, reflecting a 13 percent increase in loans approved during the first six months of fiscal year 2016. The 504 loan program allows the SBA to promote economic development by creating jobs and providing small business owners with long-term, fixed financing.
Certified Development Companies in Puerto Rico include Corporación para el Financiamiento Empresarial del Comercio y de las Comunidades (COFECC), Marketing Small Business Finance Corp., Puerto Rico Business Development Corp., and PYMES Financial Partners Inc.