The Small Business Administration (SBA) supported more than $29.6 billion in lending to America’s small businesses during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 via 54,106 7(a) and 504 loans, down slightly from its record pace of the last two years.


The federal agency supported $30.25 billion in lending via 53,848 loans in fiscal year 2012 and $30.5 billion and 61,689 loans in fiscal year 2011.



SBA said it saw dramatic growth in its Small Loan Advantage (SLA) programs, which are aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs in “underserved communities.” The program is a key 7(a) loan initiative designed to expand access to loans under $350,000 that was first launched in Feb. 2011, and revamped in June 2012. SBA has significantly reduced paperwork for the SLA program and expanded its pool of lenders. Those changes have resulted in a more than 300 percent increase in SLA loans and an over 700 percent increase in the number of lenders using the program. In FY 2013, SBA backed almost 5,000 loans for nearly $745 million through the SLA program.



SBA also attributed solid growth at its its CAPlines program, which provides working capital lines of credit designed to help small businesses with their short-term working capital needs, to streamlined loan processing aimed at  making it easier for small businesses to obtain credit. In FY 2013, CAPlines approved 682 loans for more than $500 million. In the two full fiscal years since the program was re-designed, SBA has cumulatively approved 1,200 loans after only doing 1,300 over 15 years-a significant increase over the 1,300 loans issued over the 15 years prior.



In FY 2013, SBA also supported more than 7,700 504 loans, which provide small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire real estate and major fixed assets, for a total of more than $11.7 billion. Although this is a slight decrease compared with FY 2012, this decrease demonstrates the importance of SBA’s 504 Refinancing Program, which temporarily allowed small business owners to use the 504 program to refinance commercial real estate and other fixed assets and gave SBA a record year for 504 lending in FY 2012. That program was authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act and expired in 2012, but a one year extension of the program was included in the President’s FY14 budget.