Downtown Fresno SBA district office via interiorintervention.blogspot.com
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
The pandemic has been a busy time for the U.S. Small Business Association, as many companies nationwide had to rely on the Payroll Protection Plan loans in order to keep their employees going and help their businesses weather the shutdowns.
But even before the onset of Covid-19, banks in the Central Valley had seen a busy year in loan distribution from the Small Business Administration. In fact, records for the Fresno County District Office for the SBA at the end of September 2019 show that 34 banks in Fresno County alone distributed 120 loans amounting to $100.7 million.
Meanwhile, Tulare County’s 38 loans provided companies with over $20.5 million in SBA money and Kings County was able to make six loans for over $7.5 million. Up north, nine loans were made in Madera County at over $5.7 million.
Aaron Beckman, vice president and government guaranteed lending program manager for Tri Counties Bank in Roseville, added that times of plenty are usually slow for the SBA, but not last year.
“I would say that the lending was something robust and economically strong throughout — especially the Fresno footprint,” Beckman said.
According to the Fresno District Office, Fresno First Bank made the highest number of loans in the 2018-2019 fiscal year — 23 in total — at a total amount of more than $12 million. However, they didn’t distribute the most money through the SBA. That distinction goes to the Live Oak Banking Co., who with only nine loans distributed more than $19.2 million to their clients.
Bryan Paulson, Tri Counties’ regional vice president in Fresno, added that SBA 504 Loans were the most common, allowing business owners to purchase fixed assets like buildings and machinery. Jaspreet Gill, vice president and relationship manager, explained that the SBA was used to accommodate growth, especially as more space was needed.
“What we encountered were a lot of businesses that were growing,” she said. “Just basically, through the economy being so good, we had a lot of construction clients and a lot of manufacturing clients that just needed more room.”
The final total for the 2020 fiscal year has not been calculated, but PPP lending indicates it may surpass 2019.