We’re happy to report that the outlook for America’s small business owners continues to brighten. We still have a long way to go to help small businesses grow and create jobs, but we’re seeing more confidence from our primary job creators in small (and important) increments. In January we announced that our 2013 loan volume topped our 10-year average by 77.3%. Through the first quarter of 2014, we’re 2.3% ahead of our 2013 pace. A couple things contribute to this uptick.
[Go here to read our official first quarter press release.]
First of all, we believe that small business owners are gaining a little of their confidence back. They’re starting to consider and take actions to grow and expand their businesses. We’re still doing a considerable amount of construction financing for small business owners who want to either build their facilities from the ground up, or renovate a commercial property to meet increased demand and support their planned growth/expansion.
Second, the SBA 504 loan (aka the SmartChoice Commercial Loan) has gotten a little more attention and exposure during the past two years. The 504 refinance program that expired in 2012 was a huge help for the small business owners who were able to utilize it. It worked well and got some good and well-deserved press. There’s been a lot of buzz about reinstating the program, since it used up just a fraction of the allotted funds. Whether it actually happens or not, the conversation continues to get some media attention and (we hope) will help more small business owners become familiar with the program.
The diversity of the loans we made during the first quarter is representative of SBA 504 lending, despite common misconceptions. Of the 11 loans we closed in the first quarter, five involved construction, four were acquisitions, one was for equipment, and one was a refinance under the SBA’s “9-month rule.” These projects include a rock quarry, a water park and ski resort, three medical office facilities, a recycling plant, a gymnastics studio, and a boutique motel. Here’s the important part: each of these borrowers chose the SBA 504 loan over other options, and my hope is that the 504 loan will continue to become the first choice for more small business owners who want to purchase, construct, or renovate their commercial property.
Our largest loan so far this year was for a $12.1 million industrial facility for T.C. Millwork, Inc. in Bensalem, PA. This project allowed the company to consolidate its manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution processes under one roof and increase its efficiency.
For more details, go here to read our official press release about our first quarter lending performance.
If you have any questions about how we can help you or another small business you know (or work with), call us at 1-866-622-4504 or email me at info@MercantileCC.com.
-Your 504 Experts