The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) New Jersey district office reported that loan approvals to New Jersey small business owners were up a whopping 46 percent during the agency’s first quarter of fiscal year 2015, the period from October 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
According to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, state small business owners received 391 SBA-backed loans for $177 million compared to the 268 loans for $139 million approved during the same period last year.
“There is no doubt that New Jersey small businesses are enjoying the benefits of an improving economy,” said Titone. “Lender confidence is high right now and we welcome the shift that is bringing more loans and dollars to small business owners throughout the state.”
“Economic indicators like an improved Gross Domestic Product, that is predicted to grow 3.1 percent in 2015, combined with a reduction in energy costs is putting more money in the hands of consumers,” said Titone. “Those dollars eventually lead to an increased demand for small business owners’ products and services and translate to an upsurge in overall sales.”
Titone noted that 17 of New Jersey’s 21 counties saw an increase in SBA loan approvals during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. During that same time, loan approvals for two counties decreased, while loan approvals for three counties remained unchanged. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure we are addressing all the needs of small business owners who can benefit from SBA’s programs and services,” said Titone. “The good news is that we are way ahead of last year’s pace and it is important for us to continue that momentum throughout fiscal year 2015.”
The counties that showed the biggest gains in SBA loan approvals were: Sussex County with a 450 percent increase going from two loans to 11 loans; Cape May County had a 350 percent increase in loans by going from two loan approvals to nine; Passaic County showed a 130 percent increase going from 10 loans to 23 loans, while both Atlantic and Burlington Counties showed a 100 percent increase, with Atlantic County increasing from three loans to six loans and Burlington County jumping from nine loans to 18 loans.
Also, during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, TD Bank was the top SBA lender with 50 loan approvals for $7 million. Chase Bank followed with 37 loans for $6 million. Santander Bank ranked third with 26 loans for $4 million, while Wells Fargo Bank ranked fourth with 25 loans for $5.4 million. Rounding out the top five lenders was Columbia Bank with 19 loans for $3.6 million.
According to Titone, the trend toward smaller loans continues. The average SBA loan during the first quarter of 2015 was $453,228, down from last year’s first quarter average of $519,000. “Last year the SBA introduced no fees for loans under $150,000 during fiscal year 2014,” said Titone. “The agency continues to offer this incentive to small business owners and by setting fees at zero effectively makes these loans cheaper for borrowers, encourages lending to small businesses that face the most constraints on credit access and creates lending opportunities important for underserved communities.”Related Articles: