According to Leta, SBA lending in the Greater Lehigh Valley, which includes Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties, was up 58 percent with an additional 39 loans over the same period last year.
Berks County had 59 SBA-backed loans worth about $12 million for the most recent quarter that ended March 31. That’s up from 31 loans during the same period last year. The value remained the same at about $12 million.
Northampton County had 19 loans compared to 11 during the same quarter last year. The value of the loans was up slightly at about $7 million, compared to around $6.7 million last year.
That’s good news, said Leta, because the SBA considers the number of loans to be much more important than the amount of money loaned.
“Each loan represents a small business,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of getting more money to more businesses versus a lot of money to a few businesses.”
In the 40-county region covered by the Eastern Pennsylvania district, there were 725 loans during the period as compared to 597 the year prior, Leta said.
“That’s more than 100 additional businesses that got loans that didn’t get loans last year,” he said.
Those loans, he said, lead to companies investing in growth and expansion of their businesses.