Finance: Rising interest rate impact on small business growth and economy

Will more expensive loans force area firms into slower growth patterns?   

Are higher interest rates, and a tighter lending landscape, causing small business owners to think twice before investing in their companies?  

A strategic approach to borrowing as well as considering “soft” ways to boost company culture and remain attractive to employees could be a way to bridge the higher price of business borrowing.  

According to a Business News Daily.com report, seven out of 10 businesses listed higher interest rates “…as a concern on their radar” this year.  

“What we’re seeing is some cautious optimism,” said Amey Sgrignoli, CEO of Belco Community Credit Union in Lancaster. Belco offers financial services in its central Pennsylvania offices in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties. 

Sgrignoli said many short-term impact conversations with business owners and principals revolve around client borrowing and options to help them make strategic decisions to sustain their business models. 

That could mean “…pivoting or holding off [on additional spending] where it makes sense to do that,” she said. 

Current high inflation percentages and more frequent rate hikes “puts everything in turmoil,” she said. 

“We obviously need inflation to slow down and allow the interest rate environment to curtail and level things out,” Sgrignoli explained. 

Challenging interest rates 

More “normal” interest rates range from 2.5 to 4.5% range for businesses borrowers.  

“When you get north of that, it becomes more difficult to borrow and for businesses to grow,” she said. 

According to nerdwallet.com the May’s prime interest rate for small business lending is 8.25%. 

Michael Koch said for small business owners trying to fund day-to-day operations, rising interest rates on borrowing translates to higher capital costs.  

Koch is a valuation practice leader at RKL LLP in Spring Township, Berks County. RKL services clients in central and eastern Pennsylvania.  

“If they need to go out to fund inventory or expansion, it becomes more expensive to do that,” Koch said. 

During low interest rate cycles, business will have more ability to grow, expand or add a product line, he explained. 

“Borrowing money at a lower interest rate was a simple decision,” he said. 

With the cost of borrowing doubled in recent weeks, the cost/benefit process comes into sharper focus.  

“That is what people are focusing on more now. They are stepping back, questioning and doing more to analyze the cost of borrowing that money at this point in time,” Koch said. 

The costs 

As many small business owners may not have access to capital – or to leverage the cost of it the larger companies do, they have to look outside the traditional way to grow the business. 

Small businesses are impacted by inflation because their cost of doing business, buying raw materials, producing products and paying salaries are going up. 

“Combining these things can slow down the economy and is among the challenges of small business,” according to Koch. 

“One of the drivers of cost is their people. Inflation and rising wages obviously impact small businesses pretty significantly,” he said. 

Evaluate; improve company culture 

During challenging borrowing times, Koch said small business owners and managers can be more proactive about their company culture. 

“Having a good environment, and having happy and content employees in the workplace, is a good driver,” Koch explained.  

A coveted company culture can be very attractive to new employees and create motivation for established talent to stay. 

“When you get better at doing other things in your business, like valuing employees and their contributions, creating a healthy work culture, offering hybrid work environments and being flexible and supportive of employees work lives” you can support the business during tough economic times, Koch explained. 

“It’s not always about the highest wages,” he said. 

Inventory management 

Another way to help contain costs is created better inventory or product management systems. 

“There is a cost to get that inventory, raw materials, cost of goods and some companies do finance this piece. Making (inventory or product) and sitting on it is costly,” Koch said. 

He suggests tracking inventory more frequently, especially if the standard procedure is limited to an end of year reckoning. 

“Being mindful of how much inventory you have and taking a look at it on a more recurring basis – monthly or quarterly – helps reassess where you are,” and it can help control costs, he said. 

For firms using on-demand manufacturing to produce an order when the call – and cash or deposit – comes in, there can be less financial risk. 

“You’re not sitting on the inventory or producing product, storing it and waiting to sell it,” Koch explained. 

Consider going local 

Koch recommends businesses shop around and look for competitive loans and financing options when borrowing makes sense. 

“See what is available, shop and compare. With rising interest rates small businesses can’t change where they are or where they’re going, so they do need to reassess” money needs, he said. 

Sgrignoli said there’s a lot to be learned from the current financial landscape – for both business borrowers and consumers. 

Sgrignoli offers these tips:  

  • No shortcuts. Don’t take any shortcuts on risk mitigation. Plan for and expect change to happen. 
  • Always have a contingency plan. That means encouraging business and consumer saving strategies. 
  • Work locally. The current financial and interest rate increases reinforce the concept of thinking locally, according to Sgrignoli. 

“If you’re financial institution is in your community, they are providing jobs in the community,” she said. 

Other advantages to banking locally include easier “walk in” access to speak with banking professionals and relationship building over the long haul. 

As consumers and small business owners turned to local banks during the pandemic, higher interest rates and financial uneasiness has boosted the awareness and focus on community banks, credit unions and local financial institutions, according to Sgrignoli. 

She said those relationships are enduring. 

“When something difficult happens and you have a local banker to call, they are really a partner in navigating the storm,” Sgrignoli. 

Melinda Rizzo is a freelance writer 


Underserved small business owners to get boost from new USBA rules

Two rules to address persistent gaps in access to capital impacting small business owners have been finalized by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The rules impact small business owners in underserved communities and grant permanence to SBA’s program for nonprofit mission lenders, remove outdated limits on non-depository lender participation, increase opportunities for employee ownership, and modernize the credit criteria and underwriting standards to incentivize a wider distribution network and small-dollar loans. 

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement that modernizing and expanding SBA’s lending programs will open new opportunities to entrepreneurial but underserved communities that have been denied access to the funding needed to create jobs and grow the economy. 

“Equity has been a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration since day one as our economy needs all of our great ideas and talented entrepreneurs.,” said Guzman. “These rule changes demonstrate that commitment by providing government-guaranteed lenders with all the tools they need to close the gaps that still exist for small businesses who need capital.” 

SBA’s rules will help new entrepreneurs grow their businesses by addressing capital access market gaps in underserved communities and expanding the number of participating SBA lenders.

To increase the number of credit-worthy business owners who can access SBA loans, particularly among underserved communities like women, minority, veteran, and rural entrepreneurs, SBA is modernizing the lending criteria and conditions for its business loan programs and reducing red tape for SBA lenders. SBA is achieving this by updating lending criteria for its 7(a) and 504 loan programs, including by:

  • Allowing lenders to make SBA loan decisions based on their existing credit policies for similarly sized non-SBA loans. 
  • Providing additional flexibility for loans under $150,000 to reduce the cost and complexity of small-dollar lending. 
  • Streamlining paperwork required of lenders, enabling them to spend more time with applicants and make loans more efficiently. 
  • Simplifying and clarifying affiliation standards to ease the burden on small business owners and lenders and make clear who qualifies for an SBA loan.

SBA will expand the number of lenders who can offer SBA-guaranteed loans, providing small businesses with more options for meeting their capital needs. The rule will expand the number of Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses, which promote responsible small business lending through non-depository lenders backed by SBA loan guarantees.

SBA is addressing capital access gaps by granting permanence to SBA’s program for nonprofit, mission-oriented lenders by creating a new Community Advantage SBLC license. Community Advantage lenders have lacked long-term certainty about their participation in SBA programs due to the pilot status of the program.

Despite these limitations, SBA said the Community Advantage Pilot Program has demonstrated success with higher rates of lending to Black, Hispanic, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

SBA’s rule will achieve the following:

  • Lift the moratorium on new regular SBLCs and allow for additional licensees, enabling them to make loans to small-dollar borrowers with government guarantees, reducing risks and broadening opportunities. 
  • Provide certainty through permanence of Community Advantage, encouraging current and new nonprofit lenders to invest in and expand SBA lending operations. 
  • Utilize modern technology to make lender oversight and borrower protection stronger and less resource-intensive than was possible when the SBLC moratorium was put in place.

These rules build upon a previous announcement on the Community Advantage Pilot Program that increased the maximum loan size from $250,000 to $350,000, lifted the four-year lender moratorium, enabled the SBA to expand the lender network, and allowed lenders to offer lines of credit, interest-only periods, and other loan modifications that meet the needs of small business borrowers.

Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, said it’s imperative that entrepreneurs from underserved communities have access to stable and affordable capital to grow and expand their businesses.

“With these new rules, the SBA is taking steps to invest in credit-worthy entrepreneurs and mission-oriented lenders, which will build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s progress to date,” said Kelley.

State College-based Centre 1st Bank expands into Central Pa.

Centre 1st Bank, which is entering the Central Pennsylvania market for the first time, has hired Mechanicsburg’s Bob Rader as the president of Centre 1st Mortgage Division.  

Rader will be in Camp Hill establishing a loan production office as Centre 1st expands its footprint in commercial and residential lending. 

Experienced in residential and consumer lending, Rader has started several mortgage companies. He’s served as manager of two production offices for Meridian Bank and was president of Graystone Bank’s mortgage operations until the bank was sold to Susquehanna Bank. 

We are pleased and excited that Bob has joined our organizations as he brings a long history of successful mortgage operations and is well known to our Executive team with a track record we were looking for,” Jack Infield, president of Centre 1st Bank, said in a statement. “Rader’s Pennsylvania Division will work closely with the Virginia Division of Old Dominion as the bank looks to expand is lending footprint.” 

Centre 1st Bank is the Pennsylvania division of Old Dominion National Bank. Centre 1st was established in Centre County in 2016 and offers full financial products and services, including online and mobile banking services.

Dawood Engineering founder joins bank’s effort to expand in the Capital Region

Bony Dawood, president and CEO of Dawood Engineering in Harrisburg, has been added to the Board of Directors for PB Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for Presence Bank, to help Presence Bank better tailor its services to midstate businesses and small business owners in general. PHOTO/IOANNIS PASHAKIS
Bony Dawood, president and CEO of Dawood Engineering in Harrisburg, has been added to the Board of Directors for PB Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for Presence Bank. PHOTO/IOANNIS PASHAKIS

A Chester County-based bank has enlisted the help of a Harrisburg business owner as its loaning arm reaches out to more midstate business owners.

Presence Bank said it is partnering with influential business leaders to assist in the bank’s expansion to the Capital Region in an effort that it says will help it better the lives of the people who choose to bank with them.

The Coatsville bank recently announced that it will be adding president and CEO of Dawood Engineering, Bony Dawood, to its Board of Directors. Dawood will sit on the board for PB Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for Presence Bank.

Dawood founded Dawood Engineering in 1992 and during that time, has been actively involved in various levels of the community, from collaborating with fellow business owners to sitting on boards and interacting with municipal leaders.

“As a small business owner, the benefits of working in a community bank and that relationship was very important in those years,” Dawood said. “[I have been] involved in a lot of projects that have impacted Central Pennsylvania communities [and] really had a pretty active role in creating a lot of jobs in Central PA for many years, and enjoyed that aspect of it.”

When Dawood was approached about the opportunity to join the board of PB Bankshares, Inc., he was intrigued by the opportunity to come alongside fledgling entrepreneurs from the perspective of a lender.

“I’ve been in the business world for years, and I’ve worked with a lot of lenders in the marketplace, and it really gives me a different understanding [and] different perspective.”

Dawood was an integral part of the design-build team for the West Shore Hospital, which was completed/opened in 2014. The company was responsible for surveying, civil engineering, and site design, including geotechnical engineering, wetlands delineation, and a traffic impact study. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Having been an entrepreneur owner that experienced the challenges of growing a business, Dawood says he understands the common struggles business owners face including cash flow, the fundamentals of building a business and navigating how they will make payroll. With this perspective in mind, he says he views community banks as being a fundamental part of entrepreneur welfare.

“Having a lender really work with them through that is really important,” Dawood said. “We know a lot of businesses, and we know a lot of people that want to start businesses. Having lenders that understand the challenges [is] where the community banks come.”

Presence Bank was founded in 1919. The state-chartered FDIC bank has approximately $300 million in assets.

The bank currently has an office in Lancaster County and loan production offices in Lancaster and Dauphin Counties.

Dawood’s inclusion to the board is expected to help Presence Bank better tailor its services to midstate businesses and small business owners in general. It also comes at a time of growth for the company.

President and CEO of Presence Bank, Janak Amin, believed Dawood was a natural fit for the bank’s board. Amin said he perceived Dawood as a professional with strong ethics, a family-oriented posture, and as being a person of faith—all of which are qualities that Presence Bank prioritizes when recruiting new members.

“We look at people who are obviously well regarded in their local community,” Amin said, asserting how Dawood personified the skills his team was searching for when considering how to solidify Presence Bank’s brand in the Capital Region.

Amin applauded Dawood’s business acumen and extensive experience in corporate governance through his history of building a company in the heavily-regulated engineering industry. For Amin, the regulatory experience will be a welcome asset as the board navigates regulations that also accompany the financial industry.

Thomas Bream, market executive for Presence Bank’s Capital Region emphasized Presence Bank’s current initiative to invest resources into the region, specifically in the form of collaborating with leaders who can assist in the success of the expansion effort.

With Dawood’s experience and community influence in the Capital Region, Bream said that it made sense for Presence Bank to leverage Dawood’s skills and network to help increase the brand’s reputation as it moves into the Capital Region.

“We were looking for people with [business] experience [and] someone that had visibility in this community,” Bream said.

For Bream, Dawood will not only bring experience and positive qualities of leadership to the board room, but will also be able to offer wisdom and advice on what he is seeing play out in the region’s marketplace as a business owner.

Dawood believes it is important for business owners to leverage their influence for the good of the communities they work within.

“Business owners to some degree [become] role models, and people watch them very closely in terms of their actions. I think it’s very important for business owners to take ownership and provide strong leadership,” Dawood said.

Dawood has held seats on a number of boards over the years including on the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the American Council of Engineering Consultants, and holding a Governor appointed position on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Industrial Board.

In addition to his involvement with PB Bankshares Inc., Dawood currently serves as director of Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Quality Committee, senior advisory member of Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania and board member of the American Islamic Cultural Center.

Dawood sees board involvement as a responsibility that requires a high degree of focus and engagement. In recent years, Dawood has limited the number of boards he participates in, so he is able to fully engage and dedicate adequate time to offer a valuable contribution to the organizations he partners with.

“As owners, we have to set a tone in terms of how it is to be a good citizen. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s a message being sent, but it starts from the top and you have to let the employees know how important it is.”

Like Presence Bank, Dawood Engineering pays close attention to the culture that is fostered within the organization. Dawood is deliberate in developing a strong employee culture and prioritizing positive community impact.

“The culture of the company is [that] we try to do the right thing,” Dawood said. “We’ve tried to understand what the needs are and be part of it and create careers for individuals and also provide a benefit to the community that we’re working in.”

Fulton Finanial’s net income jumps 9-plus percent in Q2

Lancaster-based Fulton Financial Corp. reported second-quarter net income available to common shareholders of $67.4 million, an increase of $5.7 million, or 9.2%, from the first quarter.

Year to date, net income available to common shareholders was $129.2 million for the period ending June 30, a decrease of $3.7 million from this time last year.

“Overall, we are pleased with Fulton’s performance and results for the second quarter,” E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial’s chairman and CEO, said in a release. “Loan originations were strong, we began to see the positive impact of rising interest rates, and fee income was solid despite headwinds in mortgage banking and our wealth management businesses.”

“On the corporate front, we completed our acquisition of Prudential Bancorp, Inc., which was a very important milestone for us, and we published our first Corporate Social Responsibility report highlighting the positive impact our company and our team are making in the communities we serve.”

Fulton also reported net interest income for the second quarter of $178.8 million, $17.5 million more than last quarter and $16.4 million more than the second quarter of 2021. Higher interest rates resulting in an increase in interest income from net loans of $9.2 million were a major factor.

And non-interest income before investment securities gains in the second quarter was $58.4 million, or a 5.7% jump from the first quarter. The release noted that this was driven by increases of $2.1 million in fee income from commercial customer interest rate swaps, $1.3 million in commercial banking merchant and card revenues and $0.8 million in consumer banking fees, which partially offset by a decrease of $1.2 million in wealth management revenues.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Deadline approaches to apply for Hurricane Ida disaster loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding businesses in Pennsylvania that were affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5 of last year to apply for working capital loans before the June 10 deadline.

The federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations, an SBA release said.

The loans, not intended to replace lost sales or profits, are for working capital needs caused by the disaster and are available even if the business did not sustain physical damage. Loan amounts range up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.855% for small businesses and 2% for private nonprofits, with terms up to 30 years.

In Pennsylvania, the disaster declaration covers the counties of Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Somerset and York.

Also falling under the declaration are New Castle County, Delaware; Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil and Harford counties in Maryland; and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren counties in New Jersey.

Business owners may apply online, under SBA declaration No. 17166, using the electronic loan application form at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s. Information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA at 800-659-2955.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Sports bike shop gets SBA 504 loan to purchase building 

Karns Performance, a sports bike shop, has closed on an SBA 504 loan to buy 5203 E. Trindle Road, Hampden Township, a building it had rented since December 2010. 

The news was announced by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. Established in January 2000 by brothers Dan and Jason Karns, the business specializes in engine building and dyno services. 

“When this building was being sold, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase it,” Owner Dan Karns said in a release. “By owning this building, we are able to keep control of our expenses and stay in the location that our customers have grown to know us in.” 

Through the $273,000 loan, completed with the assistance of M&T Bank, “we can give Karns Performance a sense of stability and security by owning their own building,” added Melissa Stone, vice president of economic development with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. 

The loan took second mortgage position behind M&T’s first mortgage of $331,425. The borrower’s equity requirements were 10% of the total project. 

CREDC works with SeedCo PA to help businesses in the region access the program. A certified development company, SeedCo PA is recognized as a top SBA 504 lender in the area. 

SBA 504 loans provide up to $5 million in long-term, fixed-rate financing to eligible and qualified small businesses for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation, the release explained 

Assets selected for $105,000 award to support small and minority-owned business lending 

Lancaster-based business consultancy nonprofit, Assets, is expected to receive $105,000 in funding to aid small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The grant, awarded by Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund and the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), will be used to help increase access to capital for small businesses in low- and moderate-income communities, Assets announced on Monday. 

“We are excited to put this funding to work in support of our clients. This helps us take important steps toward our vision of creating an equitable, ethical, and prosperous economy that works for everyone,” said Jesse Casler, Assets’ Interim CEO. 

Assets is one of 15 nonprofit lenders across the country to receive funding from the Open for Business Fund, which is given to organizations with a track record of providing small business lending and development services to low-wealth populations with difficulty accessing capital. 

Assets, founded in 1993, offers small business training and support to low- and moderate-income populations, social enterprise acceleration, microloans, business start-up loans and more. 

Pennsylvania borrowers to receive $67 million in debt cancellation through Navient settlement 

Pennsylvania borrowers impacted by allegedly deceptive practices by student loan servicer Navient, will receive $3.5 million in restitution payments and $67 million in debt cancellation. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced on Thursday that Navient has agreed to provide relief totaling $1.85 billion to borrowers across the country as part of a settlement with a coalition of 39 state attorneys general. 

The settlement follows claims that the student loan company used forbearance steering practices and “predatory” subprime private loans to maximize profits. 

“Navient repeatedly and deliberately put profits ahead of its borrowers – it engaged in deceptive and abusive practices, targeted students who it knew would struggle to pay loans back and placed an unfair burden on people trying to improve their lives through education,” said Shapiro. “Today’s settlement corrects Navient’s past behavior, provides much needed relief to Pennsylvania borrowers, and puts in place safeguards to ensure this company never preys on student loan borrowers again.” 

Shapiro sued Navient in October 2017 and co-led the litigation and negotiation of the settlement with Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts and California. 

The attorneys general claim that Navient steered borrowers into putting a forbearance on their loans, which added to the borrowers’ loan balances, pushing them further into debt. Navient could have instead offered services such as income-driven repayment plans or helped borrowers attain forgiveness of remaining balances of 20-25 years of qualifying payments. 

Navient also allegedly originated subprime private loans to students attending for-profit schools and colleges with low graduation rates, even though it knew that a vey high percentage of those borrowers wouldn’t be able to pay back their loans. 

Under the terms of the settlement, Navient will cancel the remaining balance on nearly $1.7 billion in subprime private student loan balances owed by nearly 66,000 borrowers nationwide. In addition, a total of $95 million in restitution payments of about $260 each will be distributed to approximately 350,000 federal loan borrowers who were placed in certain types of long-term forbearances. 

Approximately 13,000 Pennsylvania borrowers will receive $3.5 million in restitution payments and another 2,467 Pennsylvanians will receive $67 million in debt cancellation. 

“This is something myself, as well as many people in my position, felt like we would never get ahead of,” said Nicole S. of Easton. Nicole, a former student of the Art Institute of NYC, was a victim of the alleged practices.  

“So many of my loans, which are private, individual loans, they don’t offer consolidation or income driven payments—they would rather put you right into forbearance, so it sits there growing interest,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get a mortgage for five years. My interest rate is higher. Anything you need credit for is affected.” 

US small businesses received $44.8 billion in funding through SBA loans in 2021 

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has distributed $44.8 billion in funding to small businesses across the country through 61,000 loans in fiscal year 2021. 

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced this week that the federal administration delivered a record number of traditional loans to small businesses during the second year of the pandemic. The loans are part of $1.1 trillion in total COVID-related relief since the start of the pandemic, according to Guzman. 

This fiscal year, the administration lent $36.5 billion in 7(a) loans, $8.2 billion in 504 loans and $71.8 million in microloans. 

Lenders reported that minority business owners received nearly $11 billion in 7(a) loans or 30% of the SBA’s total 7(a) portfolio. Minority business owners received nearly $1.88 billion in 504 loans, accounting for 23% of the 504 portfolio. 

For its microloan funding, 41% of loans went to underserved communities. 

In 2021, SBA’s low-interest 504 loan program grew in loan volume by 41% and the SBA team is already at work for fiscal year 2022, said Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for the Office of Capital Access. 

Despite the growth in SBA’s loan distribution this year, there continue to be equity challenges when it comes to who has access to the loans, said Guzman. 

“While progress has been made, our data also tells a deeper story:  historic inequities in accessing capital persist, and we must do more to lower the barriers of entry to opportunity for all our entrepreneurs,” she said. “We will continue to build on our impactful programs to meet small businesses where they are and connect them with the resources needed to thrive.” 

Four mid-state businesses awarded PIDA loans for business expansion

Four businesses in Lancaster and York counties will receive low-interest loans through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).

The loans, announced by Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday, will go to seven companies in five counties to create and retain employees, grow operations and improve facilities.

“Pennsylvania’s job creators are getting people back to work, creating new opportunities and possibilities for communities all across the commonwealth,” said Wolf. “Today’s approved projects are a testament to the strength and resilience of our manufacturers, who are creating the products, services, and jobs we need to secure a bright, stable economic future.”

In Lancaster County, Lancaster-based Flex-Cell Precision was approved for a 15-year, $1.485 million loan at a 1% reset rate. The funds, part of an $11 million PIDA program, will be used to expand the company’s manufacturing facility in Lancaster.

Flex-Cell’s property is 17,500 square feet and will be expanded by more than 3,500 square feet. The total project is expected to cost $3.3 million and create 10 new and retain 45 full-time jobs.

Messick Farm Equipment in Elizabethtown was approved for a 15-year, $2 million loan at a 1% reset rate to build a 264,308-square-foot mixed-use warehouse in Rapho Township. When complete, the warehouse and distribution space will cost $21.9 million and will retain 100 full-time employees.

Warwick Township-based Rock Lititz Studio also received a 15-year, $2 million loan at a 1% reset rate. The event production community will use the money to build a 44,400-square foot rehearsal studio on its 96-acre Business Park.

The project is expected to cost $12 million and will retain 125 full-time employees and create five full-time jobs.
All of the Lancaster County loans will be distributed through EDC Finance Corp.

In York County, PSC Biotech Corp. was approved for a 10-year, $2 million loan at a 1% reset rate through the York County Economic Development Corp. to acquire a 163,885-square-foot manufacturing facility in Conewago Township.

The company is working with the Governor’s Action Team on the project, which will allow it to develop a contract manufacturing organization cytotoxic-fill-finish facility.

The project is estimated to cost $5.3 million and will help retain three full-time employees and create 100 full-time jobs within three years.

Businesses in Monroe, Schuylkill and Blair counties also received loans through the program.