SBA lenders feature franchising



Small business loan volume ticked down slightly in April, according to a new report by Biz2Credit, spurring members of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and the National Association of Development Companies to focus on franchising and other ways to increase small business lending and job creation at their conferences May 1-4 in Orlando.

The Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index found that loan approvals by big banks (those with more than $10 billion in assets) dropped from 10.9% in March to 10.6% in April. In March 2011, the approval rate was 11.6%.

“There’s still a gap out there,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills, addressing both groups. “But I’m very pleased at what we have done together. We have made record loan guarantees and enabled record dollars to be lent. We have helped 60,000 small businesses.”

Mills referenced a Culver’s franchisee who used a 504 loan to open a new business in 2009. “Then it was, ‘that loan saved my business.’ Now he’s looking to open a second location. That’s a big change from 2009,” said Mills, a self-described fan of franchising.

“We need to work together to keep these important programs going,” said NADCO CEO Chris Crawford. Before 500 attendees gathered for the Keynote address, delivered by IFA’s Beth Solomon, Crawford asked for a show of hands of lenders who had completed franchise loans. Every hand in the room went up.

Noting that the 504 program has led to over $15 billion in franchise project lending over a decade, Solomon thanked the NADCO lenders for their support. “Together, we are going to build an even stronger and better partnership going forward, and lead our economy and this great country to a better future,” Solomon said.