Ninety-eight percent of Iowa’s businesses are considered “small” businesses and the state’s office of the U.S. Small Business Administration is looking back on one of its best fiscal years ever. Joe Folsom, the S.B.A.’s Iowa district director, says the agency nationwide reached its second-highest dollar total for loans on record.

“Actually, it was the second largest dollar volume also for the state of Iowa this fiscal year that just ended with $252-million in loans,” Folsom says. “That contrasts with $293-million in the previous year.” During the fiscal year, the Iowa office made 592 loans, compared to 674 last year.

Folsom says those loans helped Iowa businesses to grow and thrive, along with the state’s employment numbers. “This year, the lending that we provided to the small business community created 2,778 jobs and retained an additional 6,581 jobs and those are great numbers,” he says.

Folsom says the figures for the just-ended fiscal year are a sign the state’s economy is “stable-to-strengthening.” “We are seeing fewer situations where small businesses are contacting us under duress,” Folsom says. “Most of them are looking for capital as they start to move through the recovery process and need additional working capital to foster additional sales and growth.”

The majority of the SBA loans in Iowa’s 99 counties were made in counties with the largest populations. The most loans were made in Polk (124), Linn (68) and Scott (45) while many rural counties only saw loan numbers in the single digits. Folsom says that’s not a big concern.

“In our rural areas, we’ve got a large number of smaller community banks and with the agricultural economy having been strong this past year, up until the time the drought hit, most of them have had adequate or more than adequate capital to lend so that has, to some degree, reduced their need to rely on S.B.A. credit.”

The S.B.A. has offices in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Learn more at: