The improving economy is reflected in the growing loan portfolios of Minnesota small business lenders.

The Minneapolis-based Minnesota district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) posted a record year working with small-to-large lenders that resulted in 1,674 business loans that totaled $506 million in the year ended Sept. 30.

The SBA also provided partial guarantees on 275 real estate-related loans to business owners.
Minnesota ranks 12th in the nation in the number of loan guarantees and 15th in the nation in total dollars out of 68 district offices, according to Andy Amoroso, deputy district director of the Minnesota office.

SBA-guaranteed loans by banks and specially designated nonprofit lenders also rose nationally. And the SBA said there were even larger increases in the amount of credit supplied to business owners who are women, veterans and minorities.
 The SBA generally guarantees 50-to-75 percent of a loan, giving bankers confidence on credit to borrowers who otherwise may not qualify.
“Banks are submitting more loans to us and they are making more loans,” Amoroso said. “There is real demand and more competition.”
Wells Fargo was the biggest Minnesota SBA lender at $69.8 million loaned to 340 customers.

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