(Q) Media reports and some surveys in the last six months say it seems business lending is resurgent in most parts of the country. Would you say that is true for Mississippi small business lending?
(A) Yes, there has been a resurgence for small business lending as a whole. Lending in Mississippi thus far this Fiscal Year (October 2013 through August 2014 ) reveals 382 loans were approved for small businesses totaling approximately $133 million dollars. For the same duration last fiscal year, 396 loans were approved totaling $130.7 million. We’ve also secured 13 new lenders thus far this year.
(Q) How does today’s pace of activity at the SBA’s Mississippi offices compare to previous years?
(A) SBA-backed lending this fiscal year is on part to meet or exceed FY2013. Loan dollars to veterans, currently at $2.236 million, exceed the $2.22 million made through fiscal year 2013. Likewise, $60.23 million in loans to new businesses exceed the $59.6 million total number of loans made in FY 2013.
(Q) Is activity at near pre-recession levels?
(A) Yes. Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow and create new jobs.
(Q) Are rejections for SBA-backed loans up in light of the tougher underwriting rules of lenders?
(A) We’ve not found that to be true. Since SBA’s loan processing is nationally centralized, when a loan application is declined, the agency’s policy is to notify the local SBA office of such declines. We’ve received very few notices of such occurrences. In fact, we’ve only had one decline in the last twelve months.
(Q) Do you have some suggestions for business borrowers on improving their credit standing?
(A) There are a number of strategies available online at http://www.sba.gov/blogs. You may also contact SBA’s resource partners — the Mississippi SBDC, SCORE or the Women’s Business Center — via our website at www.sba.gov/ms under the “Counseling and Assistance” heading for one–on-one counseling regarding a variety of small business concerns. Those interested in attending SBA workshops or seminars can contact the Mississippi District Office in Jackson at (601) 965-4378 or Branch Office in Gulfport at (228) 863-4449.
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