Lending to launch and expand small businesses in Iowa held steady during the just-ended fiscal year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Jayne Armstrong, director of the SBA’s Iowa District Office, says loan numbers rose just slightly from the previous fiscal year.
“We did 406 loans this year across Iowa for a total of $218 million in financing,” Armstrong says. That compares to 405 loans during the previous fiscal year that supported $212 million in lending to small businesses statewide.
The loans went to a wide range of start-ups and expanding Iowa businesses, though the only trend Armstrong noticed among them was likely tied to international trade troubles. “We did see a little bit of a downturn in our SBA 504 loans which are commercial real estate and heavy equipment,” Armstrong says. “And our exporting, where we had a record year the year before, that went down a little bit. The uncertainty, especially in the export markets, followed some state trends.”
Earlier this year, the five-week-long federal government shutdown caused critical troubles for the SBA, Armstrong says, with ripple effects that lasted months. “I’m just glad that we stayed steady,” Armstrong says. “Considering the obstacle that we had this past year, it wasn’t looking like that for part of the year. It’s always hard when you lose a little bit of momentum with the shutdown and then getting banks back on board doing SBA lending. We lost a lot of deals during that period.”
She says the 406 loans approved by the SBA this fiscal year created more than 1,600 jobs in Iowa and help companies retain an additional 2,800 jobs. The top county for loan dollars was Polk with $40 million, followed by Linn County at nearly $19 million and Dallas County with $15 million.