Zions Bank Maintains Role as Utah's Top Lender to Small Businesses for 17 Consecutive Years

Oct 19, 2010, 09:07 ET from Zions First National Bank

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Helping infuse small businesses with the capital they need to grow and create jobs, Zions First National Bank today announced its rank as the top lender of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in Utah for 2010. Zions has ranked as Utah's No.1 SBA lender for the past 17 consecutive years. It has also ranked as the top SBA lender in Idaho's Boise District for the past nine consecutive years.

Zions Bank approved 597 SBA 7(a) loans in Utah totaling $48.7 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010. These loans represent 36 percent of the 1,677 SBA-backed loans approved in the state during fiscal year 2010.

"At a time when questions are being raised about banks' willingness to make loans, Zions Bank is proud to continue to demonstrate our institution-wide commitment to supporting small businesses as they build and drive our economies," said Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson.  "Even in a challenging environment, the fact that we approved just 40 fewer SBA loans than we did in fiscal year 2010 further demonstrates our willingness to lend to small businesses."

Zions Bank also leads all other financial institutions in Utah in marketing SBA loans to women-owned businesses. During fiscal year 2010, 28 percent (or 252) of the SBA loans approved by Zions Bank were to women and minorities. Additionally, 14 percent of loans approved by Zions were to rural businesses.

SBA 7(a) loans are the most basic and most used type of loan in SBA's business programs. The program offers up to 25-year, fully amortized loans that result in lower monthly payments for the borrower. Proceeds from the 7(a) program may be used for most business purposes, including the purchase of real estate for business operations, acquisition of equipment, and working capital.  

The 7(a) loan category also includes SBA's new America's Recovery Capital (ARC) loans, designed to provide an immediate infusion of capital to struggling but viable small businesses.  Zions Bank became the first financial institution in the nation to receive authorization by the SBA to extend a new ARC loan to a small business client on June 15, 2009.  

Through the end of fiscal year 2009, Zions Bank approved 82 percent of all ARC loans in the SBA's Utah District, or 162 loans totaling $5.3 million.  

Nationwide, small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9 percent of the 26.8 million businesses in America. Small businesses employ about 50 percent of the private workforce, account for more than half of the nation's private sector output, and are the principal source of new jobs in the U.S. economy. In Utah, about 97 percent of businesses qualify as "small businesses" (businesses with fewer than 500 workers).

Zions Bank, a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION), is Utah's oldest financial institution and is the only local bank with a statewide distribution of branches, operating 105 full-service offices. Zions Bank also operates 26 full-service branches in Idaho. In addition to offering a wide range of traditional banking services, Zions Bank is also a leader in small business lending and has ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah for the past 16 consecutive years. Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of Utah for 135 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com.

SOURCE Zions First National Bank