SBA reports ‘banner’ year of 504 loans for R.I. small businesses

PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Small Business Administration reported its highest-ever fixed-assets funding for Rhode Island small businesses for the year that ended Sept. 30, according to a news release.

The $90.4 million in 504 loans helped 78 small businesses with capital purchases such as real estate and equipment, setting state records in dollars and numbers of loans, the release stated.

Despite the “banner year” for the 504 loan program, total funding across all types of SBA loans declined, down 11.7% over fiscal year 2022 to $151 million. This was driven by lower funding through the SBA’s flagship 7(a) program, funding for which fell 43.1% year over year.

In fiscal 2022, the SBA provided $60 million across 158 loans through its 7(a) program, which was financed through 40 different lenders.

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A separate microloan program provided another $150,000 to six eligible businesses in fiscal 2022, the release stated.

The SBA in a recent awards ceremony also recognized the top lenders in each category based on the number of loans and dollars awarded to small businesses. Webster Bank was named the top 7(a) lender, leading the way in volume and funding with 25 loans totaling $11.6 million.

BankNewport and Centreville Bank were jointly named as 504 lenders of the year, while the Community Investment Corp. and South Eastern Economic Development Corp. were recognized as microlenders of the year.

“We are fortunate to have so many active lenders in the state that are always ready to assist our small businesses,” SBA District Director Mark S. Hayward said in a statement. “From some of the largest banks in the country to one-location credit unions, all of our lenders have the ability to ensure Rhode Island businesses are able to gain the access to capital they need, and we are proud to honor our winners from this past fiscal year.”

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.