Federal fund fuels lending to small businesses

BOULDER — Some local companies are expected to benefit from a $188.8 million increase in Colorado small-business loans made possible by capital from the federal Small Business Lending Fund.

Local CoBiz Bank branches in Boulder and Louisville and a Centennial Bank branch in Boulder (the trade name of CIC Bancshares Inc.) are part of the bank network in Colorado that has made the loans. The Small Business Lending Fund was created in 2010 to encourage community banks to increase lending to small businesses.

Across the nation, the U.S. Treasury has invested $4 billion in capital into 332 banks involved in the program, creating additional business lending of $7.4 billion, according to a press statement.

In general, participating community banks increased their business lending by substantially larger amounts than did other banks, according to the U.S. Treasury press statement.

Community banks paid a 2 percent interest rate to the Treasury on average to access the capital from the program that was used to make loans, according to the press statement. Community banks can reduce their interest rates on the money to 1 percent if they increase small-business lending by 10 percent over their previous base small business lending amount.

In the first six quarters of the program, Centennial Bank increased by 50.9 percent its small-business lending in Colorado, according to Treasury data. CoBiz Bank increased its state small-business lending by 5.5 percent.

Centennial Bank received $1.8 million in capital so far from the program. CoBiz Bank received $57.4 million in capital, according to the Treasury.

In Colorado, banks based in Buena Vista, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan and Denver also received capital from the program.

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