Dennis Larkin, in the SBA’s Cedar Rapids office, says the agency made 440 loans during the year and 155 of them were to new businesses, while the rest were to existing businesses.
“We were down about 85 loans from the year before, from 2013,” Larkin says. “We’re disappointed to see that the decrease was spread across both of our major loan program types. We saw disappointing decreases in ethnic loan breakdowns, women and veterans as well.”
The total value of the loans to Iowa businesses for the just-ended fiscal year reached $149-million, compared to nearly $195-million the previous year.
Larkin says the agency needs to do a better job of working with Iowa lenders to help them understand how SBA programs could be of value, providing access to capital for their clients.
He says, “We’re going to redouble our efforts with Iowa lenders to try to understand what their needs are and how their needs can fit with our programs and do a better job on our part of promoting the programs that we do have and trying to find ways to help lenders tailor our programs to the situation, to the clients, the customers that walk in the door.”
While the SBA saw drops in both the numbers and dollar value of the loans made in Iowa, nationwide, SBA loan numbers were up 12% and rose more than 7% in dollar amounts.
“We’re not quite sure just what it is that we can do to help boost the SBA lending activity in Iowa,” Larkin says. “We’re determined to do that but we’re going to have to do a lot of listening and a lot of soul searching to see if we can’t find ways to turn this around, to help more small businesses in Iowa.”
Loans were made during the fiscal year in 65 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The SBA report says the loans created 1,440 jobs in Iowa and retained 2,796 jobs.
Larkin says more than 95% of all businesses in Iowa are considered small businesses. Larkin is Acting Deputy District Director of the SBA in Iowa.