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 SEATTLE, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Small Business

Administration (SBA) announced today that 1991 guaranty loan volume matched record levels of the previous year for Western Washington. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1991, the SBA Seattle District Office approved 406 loans for $92.3 million. The Seattle office covers 15 counties in the western half of the state.
 "Demand for small business loans has remained strong," said Robert P. Meredith, SBA Seattle District director. "It reflects the relative strength of our Puget Sound area economy. It also is indicative of the many lending institutions that support the financial needs of small business.
 "The loans were for all types of small businesses," said Meredith. "Nearly all of the loans are made by banks or other financial institutions and guaranteed by SBA, generally for 80 to 90 percent of the loan amount. The smallest loan was for $6,000 to a small statistical research firm. The largest loan was a $1,230,000 motel loan. The average loan amount was about $226,000."
 Of the 406 Seattle District loan approvals, 191 (or 47 percent) went to firms located in King County. Snohomish County was second with 107 loans, followed by Pierce (29), Thurston (24) and Whatcom (13). Security Pacific Bank Washington had the most loans in the 15 western counties with 46 (for $7.7 million). The Money Store Investment Corp. was tops in dollars loaned with $12.8 million (for 31 loans).
 Statewide, SBA made 647 loans for $143 million during the year. While Washington ranks only 20th nationally in population, the state ranked fourth among the 50 states in SBA lending, trailing only California, Texas and New York.
 The statewide SBA lending leader was U.S. Bank Washington with 65 loans for $9.9 million. In the SBA 504 loan program, a special package for plant and equipment financing, Evergreen Community Development Association ranked number one in Washington state with 45 loans for $16 million. The national lending leader for 1991 was The Money Store with 668 loans for $253.2 million including the 31 loans in Western Washington.
 SBA has 82 field offices across the country. Eastern Washington is served by an SBA office in Spokane. Five counties along the Columbia River are covered by the Portland District Office. The Seattle District has ranked in the top 10 SBA offices for guaranty lending volume in each of the past three years.
 "Small businesses play a big role in our economy," Meredith stated. "Even in difficult economic times, opportunities abound for enterprising men and women to start and develop their own business. Our role is to help with financial and management assistance, and to represent the interests of small business on state and national issues.
 "A local example is American Pioneer Inc., a Seattle firm owned by Lynn Lively and her husband, Nathan Roundy," said Meredith. "Lynn and Nathan exemplify America's innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and success in exporting. This small business started 10 years ago in the couple's basement. American Pioneer invents and manufactures fish- finding and navigational sonar gear which they now ship to 15 foreign countries. The SBA helped this business achieve success through both loan and counseling programs."
 The SBA lending programs allow banks and other lenders the flexibility to make small business loans considered too risky for conventional financing. The SBA guaranty is particularly critical when firms seek medium- to longer-term loans, or when available collateral is considered inadequate.
 Despite the higher risk, SBA loan losses are less than 4 percent. A 1990 study by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) cited SBA as the only major credit agency making positive progress in managing federal loan programs. Another recent economic study estimated that the federal and state government sectors earn a 26-percent annual rate of return on the government's investment in SBA guaranty loans. The fees and induced tax revenues paid by the borrowers more than offset the administrative costs and loan losses. GAO estimates that 30 to 40 percent of bank long-term lending to small businesses carries an SBA guaranty.
 The following is a list of the top 10 lending institutions for 1991 in the 15 Western Washington counties comprising the SBA Seattle District (ranked by number of loans):
 1 Security Pacific Bank Washington 46 $ 7.7
 2 U.S. Bank Washington 40 7.7
 3 City Bank 39 9.0
 4 Evergreen Community Development Assn. 37 12.7
 5 The Money Store Investment Corp. 31 12.8
 6 First Heritage Bank 26 5.7
 7 Frontier Bank 25 4.7
 8 Seafirst Bank 18 3.7
 9 Key Bank of Puget Sound 15 3.0
 10 Pacific Northwest Bank 14 2.7
 -0- 1/27/92
 /CONTACT: Melvin H. Pfeif of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Seattle District Office, 206-553-2682/ CO: U.S. Small Business Administration ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:

LM-SC -- SE013 -- 3909 01/27/92 16:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 27, 1992

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