Local firms get fewer small-business loans
Small Business Administration loans to mid-Hudson Valley businesses are down from their spike of last year, but New York district Director Jose Sifontes said there isn’t a cause for worry.

‘‘We’re a gap lender. We provide guarantees to lenders when they are not able to make loans,’’ Sifontes said.

And, loans are being made.

‘‘The Kingston SBDC (Small Business Development Center) is one of the most productive. One of the performance measurement areas is economic development — how much money is coming back into the community. Kingston is the most productive in the state,’’ he said.

Officially known as the New York State Small Business Development Center Mid-Hudson Region, the center generated 145 loans from Oct. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2006. Of those, 110 were without SBA guarantees.

The administration guaranteed 121 loans in Dutchess this year totaling $15.51 million compared with 151 loans at $16.26 million last year. In Ulster, the numbers were 55 loans this year at $8.05 million compared to 64 loans at $8.89 million.

Sifontes said the fact more loans were being generated without an SBA guarantee was good news.

‘‘That means 110 businesses were able to access conventional loans and didn’t the SBA,’’ he said.

Sifontes also points out the difference in the number of loans
wasn’t significant year over year.

The New York District retained its place as the top district for loans nationwide, generating 5,422 loans totaling $598.42 million.

The district covers Dutchess, Ulster, New York City, Long Island, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties.

As for the dollars represented by the loans, Sifontes said amounts have been decreasing nationwide, primarily because of the SBA Express Loan program, which provides loans of about $120,000 to $150,000.

‘‘These types of loans are what’s needed,’’ he said.

There were 110,369 of those loans in the New York District last year, administration spokesman John Miller said.

Sifontes said the mid-Hudson Valley has been a focus of the district, and that meetings are being planned for January and February in Dutchess County to get the word out about programs offered by the Small Business Administration.

‘‘We’ve acknowledged the numbers. We’re being very proactive in the mid-Hudson and anticipate a lot of activity in the next few weeks,’’ Sifontes said.

Businesses and lenders interested in SBA loans can visit www.sba.gov/ny or call Ron Goldstein at 1-212-264-4321.

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