By Chelsey Levingston
Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio.
Small business owners across Ohio are more confident about the economy and borrowing money at levels not seen since 2008, based on lending volumes provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s area district director.
Last budget year, 1,799 government-guaranteed 7(a) loans for working capital and business acquisitions were approved in southern and central Ohio, said Martin Golden, director of the federal Small Business Administration’s Columbus, Ohio, district.
The district covers 60 counties including a Cincinnati branch office. Those loans deployed a total $358 million worth of capital in the regional economy, fueling business expansions and new construction, Golden said.
More 7(a) loans, the federal agency’s largest small business loan program, were approved during the October 2013 through September 2014 period than every year since the Great Recession ended in 2009. However, volumes are not quite back to pre-recessionary spending.
In 2008, small business owners in this Ohio district obtained 1,908 loan approvals, according to Golden.
“I think the banks have cleaned up their balance sheets and there’s a lot of liquidity in the market,” he said.
An additional 96 loans under the 504 program for commercial real estate were approved last year totaling $65 million. However, this loan program’s growth is flat compared to past years, Golden said.