SBA lending slips in latest fiscal year

NEW YORK (AP) — The Small Business Administration backed more loans to small companies in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, although the total value of those loans fell from the previous year.

The SBA backed $29.6 billion in loans from its two main loan programs, the 7(a) and 504 programs in fiscal year 2013, down from $30.25 billion in fiscal 2012 and the agency's record of $30.5 billion in fiscal 2011.

But the number of loans rose to 54,106 from 53,848 in fiscal year 2012. That was down from 61,689 in fiscal year 2011, however.

The drop in the total amount of loan money reflected the expiration of a law that allowed the 504 loan to be used to refinance mortgages on property. Ordinarily, 504 loans can only be used to buy or expand property, but refinancings were permitted under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 until Sept. 27, 2012. That law was passed to help small businesses recover from the recession. The SBA supported more than $11.7 billion in 504 loans in the latest fiscal year, down from nearly $15.1 billion in fiscal 2012.

The 7(a) program backs loans to help launch or expand a company or to help fund its operations. The SBA did not release a dollar amount for 7(a) loans for the latest fiscal year.

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