SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- More Idaho and Utah entrepreneurs are borrowing money to start and grow their businesses, according to the most recent fiscal year-end data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The number of approved SBA 7(a) loans, the most common type of financing offered by the SBA, increased 13 percent in the administration's Utah District and 57 percent in the Boise District during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2015.
During the same period, the number of these loans approved by Zions Bank increased at a faster rate than the market, at 29 percent in Utah and 71 percent in Southern and Eastern Idaho. The capital provided through Zions Bank's loans to Idaho and Utah businesses allowed them to grow, which resulted in nearly 5,000 new and retained employees, according to SBA data.
"A year ago, we saw more businesses running lean and keeping cash on their balance sheets. Recently, we are seeing more small business loan demand and the applicants are better qualified today," said Cece Mitchell, senior vice president and Small Business Group division manager at Zions Bancorporation. "The average size of the loans we're making to small businesses demonstrates we're meeting their appetite for modest leverage while still allowing them to grow and hire new employees."
For the past 22 consecutive years, Zions Bank has ranked as the top provider of 7(a) loans in Utah. Zions Bank approved loans totaling more than $72.1 million and representing 28 percent of the SBA-backed loans approved in the Utah District in 2015.
In Idaho's Boise District, Zions Bank has been the top SBA 7(a) lender for the past 14 consecutive years, having approved loans totaling more than $15.9 million and comprising 23 percent of the district's loans in 2015. In Northern Idaho, Zions Bank also approved loans in the SBA's Seattle/Spokane District totaling more than $5.8 million.
"Utah's job growth is the highest in the country, and Idaho's employment is also among the fastest growing in the U.S.," notes Robert Spendlove, senior vice president and Zions Bank economic and public policy officer. "Zions Bank is proud that the SBA loans we made in 2015 are helping businesses create jobs that provide a foundation for economic growth and are essential to the long-term health of our communities."
Another factor driving loan growth is the SBA's waiver of guarantee fees on 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less, implemented in 2013 and continuing through the 2016 fiscal year. With the average 7(a) loan made by Zions hovering less than $203,000, many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this perk. On a loan of $150,000, the 2 percent fee waived by the SBA could translate to two employees' salaries for one month.
The SBA's 7(a) program offers up to 25-year, fully amortized loans that may be used for most business purposes, including the purchase of real estate for business operations, acquisition of equipment, and working capital.
Zions Bank, a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION), operates 124 full-service financial centers throughout Utah and Idaho. In addition to offering a wide range of traditional banking services, Zions Bank is also a leader in small business lending and has consistently ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah for the past 22 years and Idaho's Boise District for the past 14 years. Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of the Intermountain West for more than 140 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com.
SOURCE Zions Bancorporation