The U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed about $83 million worth of loans to Maine small businesses during its 2018 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, a sharp decrease from the previous fiscal year.

The $83 million figure represents a 23 percent decrease from the roughly $108 million of SBA-guaranteed loans issued to Maine businesses during the 2017 fiscal year.

SBA Maine District spokesman Keith Lind said the substantial decrease can be attributed to two factors.

“First, fiscal year 2017 was an especially good year for the SBA 504 loan program, making it difficult to match the historic levels reached in that program for a second year,” Lind said. “The second factor being that SBA loan programs are countercyclical, and improving conditions for small businesses in Maine caused lenders to seek fewer SBA-guaranteed loans.”

SBA-guaranteed 504 loans allow businesses to buy things such as equipment for expansion or modernization.

During fiscal year 2017, the SBA approved 73 loans under the 504 loan program in Maine, with a total value of about $40 million. That amount decreased to 59 loans with a total value of about $32 million in fiscal year 2018.

There was also a substantial decrease in Maine lending under the SBA’s flagship 7(a) loan-guarantee program for business startups and expansions from 2017 to 2018.

The SBA approved 303 loans in Maine under the 7(a) loan program with a total value of nearly $69 million during the 2017 fiscal year. That decreased to 289 7(a) loans with a total value of nearly $50 million in fiscal year 2018.

One area in which SBA lending activity increased in 2018 was under the agency’s microloan program. Specifically, 92 microloans were approved in Maine totaling over $1.4 million in fiscal year 2018, more than double the number of such loans issued the previous year, and a 75 percent increase in dollars lent through the microloan program.

In fiscal 2018, Granite State Development Corp. was Maine’s leading certified development company, approving 44 SBA 504 loans valued at nearly $25 million.

The leading third-party lender was Bangor Savings Bank, which issued 14 SBA 504 loans totaling nearly $8 million.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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