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State SBA office first in lending

JACKSON — The Mississippi U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved 770 loans for Mississippi small businesses totaling approximately $144.93 million during fiscal year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009).

The Mississippi SBA Office made more loans in FY 2009 than in FY 2007 and 2008 — 623 loans valued at $107.05 million and 479 loans valued at $121.096 million, respectively.

“This has been a critical year to get dollars out to small business owners and we’re very appreciative of our partnership with participating lenders,” said SBA Mississippi District director Janita R. Stewart. “Those efforts provide a positive economic impact for our state and economy.”

The SBA reports that on average, one job is retained or created for every estimated $50,000 worth of SBA backing. As such, approximately 2,899 Mississippi jobs were the result of SBA-backed lending, which serve to increase Mississippi’s tax base and support economic development.

“The increase in loan volume is directly linked to President Obama’s passing of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” said Stewart.

The ARRA temporarily eliminates fees on SBA-backed loans and raised SBA’s guarantee percentage on some loans to 90 percent. Of the 44 lenders that made SBA loans in Mississippi during FY09, 24 were new lenders or a lender that had not made an SBA loan in years. The elimination of fees and increase in guarantee percentage will remain in effect until the funds are exhausted.

The SBA’s 7(a) loan program accounted for 750 loans to Mississippi small businesses valued at almost $124.1 million while SBA’s 504 loan program accounted for 20 loans totaling $20.86 million.

“SBA’s Gulf Opportunity (GO) loan program was of significant help to Mississippi entrepreneurs, as well,” said Stewart.

GO Loan, launched in Nov. 2005 to provide expedited financial assistance to small businesses located in, moving to or relocating within counties and parishes severely impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, was recently extended to Sept. 30, 2010. In FY09, GO loans in Mississippi accounted for 343 loans valued at $17.8 million. That is approximately 61 percent of the number of GO loans made nationally (564) and half the dollar volume of loans made nationally ($35.6 million).

Nationally, SBA backed 50,829 loans totaling more than $13.12 billion to small businesses in FY 2009. The Mississippi Office ranked in SBA’s top 10 percent nationally, being one of only seven offices (out of 70) that met or exceeded assigned loan goals. The Mississippi Office also ranked first nationally in SBA’s small market category.

The Mississippi Office’s top ranking has never occurred before.

In addition to top ranking, the Mississippi office is the only SBA office in the Southeast Region IV, comprising of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky that met or exceeded all FY09 goals. Loan goals assigned to SBA offices include: total dollar of loans; loans made to underserved markets; and, loans made to veterans.

About Wally Northway

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