By Chuck Crumbo
Published Oct. 23, 2013
Loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration to small businesses in South Carolina jumped to an all-time high of $235.2 million in fiscal year 2013, surpassing last year’s previous record of $222.9 million.
The 5.5% gain in SBA loan volume for the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, marks the third consecutive year that SBA deals have reached record levels in the Palmetto State, according to the agency’s South Carolina District Office.
“I believe that the reasons for the increase are the improving economy and the increase in lender participation due to our outreach and need for the SBA guarantee loans to stabilize the different lenders’ portfolios,” said Gregg White, deputy district director of the SBA’s district office in Columbia.
Loan volume of the SBA’s 7(a) program — the agency’s primary loan guarantee program — totaled $200.2 million for the year, up nearly 25% over 2012’s volume of $161.5 million. The SBA approved 316 7(a) deals in fiscal 2013 compared with 291 loans in 2012.
Loans backed by the 7(a) program can be used to establish a new business or to assist in the acquisition, operation, or expansion of an existing business.
Wells Fargo Bank produced the largest number of loans with 45 deals for $16.5 million. TD Bank’s production of 34 loans ranked second.
CertusBank is a relative newcomer to S.C. banking circles. It was founded about three years ago and in September received certification as a preferred SBA lender.
During the year, CertusBank also acquired Louisville, Ky.-based Quadrant Financial Inc., a lender in SBA 7 (a) program whose loan volume has climbed roughly 20-fold since 2006 and has been consistently ranked as a Top 25 SBA lender nationally, based on volume.
Participating in the SBA lending program helps small business “put people to work,” said Angela Webb, bank president.
“We thought there was a gap in providing this level of service in this state,” Webb said. “We knew we could add to the state what it was missing.”
The SBA backed 43 loans totaling $35 million through its 504 program in fiscal year 2013 compared with SBA-backed 504 loans that totaled $61.4 million in 2012. The large volume of 504 loans was partly the result of the 504 refinancing program, a temporary Jobs Act program that expired Sept. 27, 2012.
Proceeds from the 504 program can be used to purchase land and existing buildings, make improvements to the property, construction or renovating new facilities, and purchase of long-term machinery and equipment.
Top-10 7(a) lenders by number of loans
Top-10 7(a) lenders by dollar volume
Source: Small Business Administration S.C. District Office
Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.