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Small business owners, take note: Banks really do want your business.
Although many would-be entrepreneurs still face obstacles in obtaining capital, a record number of U.S. Small Business Administration loans in the Philadelphia region were made last year. And, according to one study, the number of banks focusing on small business lending is increasing.
In the nine-county Southeastern Pennsylvania area, 794 SBA loans worth $132.3 million were approved - an increase of 189 percent over the previous year. In a prepared statement, the SBA attributed the increase to its new LowDoc program, which streamlines the loan application process; special programs for women and minorities; and a marketing outreach program.
Reading-based Meridian Bancorp Inc. made the most SBA loans in the Philadelphia area last year, with 142 loans, followed by CoreStates Financial Corp of Philadelphia, with 73 loans.
A national study released in mid-March by the Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Bankers Association indicated that 89 percent of the 57 responding …