South Florida saw a greater increase in small business lending than across the entire Southeast, according to data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The number of small business loans is up in South Florida almost 52 percent as of July 31 over the same time last year, compared to 45 percent across the Southeast.
The SBA’s flagship 7(a) and 504 loan programs placed $339 million additional loans in South Florida in the hands of small business between Oct. 1 and July 31. The 7(a) loan program saw a 65 percent increase in the number South Florida loans to reach a total of 1,756, while the 504 loan program saw a dip of 5.7 percent, falling to a total of 231 loans.
But although the number of 504 loans in South Florida is down as of July 31 over the same period last year, the dollar amount is up 5.4 percent to reach $169.4 million. The dollar amount of funds disbursed through the 7(a) program is also up in South Florida, reaching $857.5 million, or an increase of 62.8 percent.
“In the South Florida District office, we have certainly hit a milestone by achieving a record-breaking billion dollar mark for the amount of loans that are guaranteed by the SBA in the first 10 months of this year,” said Francisco “Pancho” Marrero, SBA South Florida District director. “This is pretty significant in terms of illustrating the strength of our small business owners and their ability to access capital.”
The number of loans made to minority-owned businesses also increased across all minority segments, except American Indians, which saw a decrease of 37.5 percent. Small business loans to Asian or Pacific Islanders increased 73.9 percent, to African Americans increased 73.8 percent, and to Hispanics increased 35.1 percent. The number of small business loans to majority-white owned businesses increase 54.6 percent.
Woman-owned firms saw an uptick in SBA loans of 31 percent.
The numbers are a very positive indicator of small businesses’ increased confidence in the future and a willingness to expand, Marrero said. “I have no doubt the next two months will continue this upward trend of borrowing,” he said.