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Central Pa. banks lend record amounts through small business program

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Banks in Central Pennsylvania made fewer but larger loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration's signature lending program in the last fiscal year.

Specifically, lenders in the region saw a 16 percent increase in dollars loaned through the SBA 7(a) program, despite an 11 percent decrease in number of loans, between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017.

The SBA includes Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, York and nine other counties in its calculation of Central Pennsylvania numbers. The region is part of the SBA's larger Eastern Pennsylvania District, which lent more dollars through the 7(a) program in fiscal year 2017 than in any other time in its history. That includes a 3 percent increase over last year in dollars loaned across the 40-county district.

“The strength of SBA lending in Eastern Pennsylvania is a direct reflection of the strong relationships SBA enjoys with our lending partners as well as the success of our lender education and outreach efforts,” said Antonio Leta, director of the Eastern Pennsylvania District, in a news release. "Our numbers this year are even stronger than last year, when lending in our District was at an all-time high for SBA’s flagship 7(a) program."

The 7(a) program lets lenders provide loans to small businesses with the backing of the federal government. It gives banks and other institutions the opportunity to work with business owners who may not qualify for traditional loans.

Central Pennsylvania lenders made 289 loans for a total of $125.1 million in fiscal year 2017, with an average loan size of $433,042 - a 30 percent increase over the average loan size last year.

Among banks with a presence in the midstate, M&T Bank continued to lead the pack in terms of number of SBA 7(a) loans made in Pennsylvania's Eastern District. The New York-based company made 174 of these loans in the area this past year, and more than 1,200 throughout its total footprint. It is the eighth-largest SBA lender in the country.

Other locally familiar names among the district's top 10 lenders include Wells Fargo with 91 loans, Lower Paxton Township-based Centric Bank with 57, Santander with 50 and Millersburg-based Mid Penn Bank with 40.

This story has been updated to include SBA 7(a) lending numbers from individual banks.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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