The U.S. Small Business Administration announced fiscal 2018 lending numbers showing that it guaranteed more than $30 billion to small businesses that otherwise would not have had access to capital.

“We are providing tools, resources and access to capital for America’s 30 million small businesses, and our fiscal 18 numbers bear that out,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “SBA’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs have never been more dynamic, easy to use and accessible — helping small businesses succeed and thrive. Our loan programs in fiscal 2018 continue to show strong performance, and we believe the president’s tax cuts and deregulatory actions will help more small businesses grow and prosper in the coming year.”

In fiscal 2018 there were about 60,353 7(a) loans made, with a total dollar amount of $25.37 billion. The 7(a) program is SBA’s flagship program, which offers guarantees on loans to small businesses of up to $5 million on reasonable terms and conditions. The 7(a) loans are commonly used for acquiring land, purchasing equipment or working capital.

The SBA’s 504 loan program had another year of high performance for lending, with 5,874 loans made for a total dollar amount of more than $4.75 billion. In fiscal 2018, SBA launched the 25-year Debenture, which offers an extra 60 months of financing at a fixed rate for small businesses. Since its introduction in April, more than 1,000 debentures had been sold by the end of September.

“The 25-year Debenture is designed to help free up cash flow and offer fixed rates in a rising interest rate environment for 504 borrowers, and we are pleased to see over $1 billion has been disbursed in less than six months,” said Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access William Manger.

In fiscal 2018, there was significant growth in the SBA’s smaller loans, including a record volume of dollars lent in the Microloan and Community Advantage Programs. Specifically, more than 5,000 loans were approved for over $72 million in the Microloan program and more than 1,000 loans for more than $150 million in SBA’s Community Advantage program.

In Delaware, SBA backed $72.6 million in loans during fiscal 2018, guaranteeing 195 loans in total. This is a 9.5 percent increase from the agency’s 2017 Delaware loan volume of 178 loans and a 37.2 percent increase in dollars lent, up from $52.9 million in fiscal 2017.

The SBA continued to innovate and improve processes by leveraging enhanced technologies. Lender Match is an SBA technology platform that gives entrepreneurs the ability to complete a quick online form, without registration or cost, and be connected with an approved SBA lender within 48 hours. To date, Lender Match has generated 3.6 million leads on behalf of small businesses to lenders and more than 160,000 unique borrowers have been contacted by lenders with financing options.

Another technological innovation was the development of the SBA’s Franchise Directory, which was launched this year and has resulted in a more than 50 percent increase in eligible franchise brands. There are currently 3,192 brands on the Franchise Directory. When the directory was first published in October 2017, there were only 2,034 brands. In fiscal 2018, SBA has seen a year over year increase of more than 21 percent in 7(a) and 504 dollars going to franchises.

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