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WA Lenders Team Up to Fight Small Business Credit Crunch

October 15, 2008

Seattle, WA - There's a bit of good news in Washington State amid the grim economic headlines. Certified Development Companies (CDCs) have money to lend and are seeking borrowers. CDCs partner with banks to enable small businesses to expand, sharing the risk on loans for buildings and major equipment purchases.

Evergreen Community Development Association President Phil Eng says that while many banks have shied away from mortgage loans, CDCs are actively looking for business customers.

"The difference is, the banks are really targeting owner-occupied, commercial real estate. We're financing the small business owner, someone who is working 24/7 to make sure their business succeeds. That gives our partner bank a high degree of comfort that the loan will be repaid."

The 20-year, fixed-rate loans are made through the federal Small Business Administration 504 program. Eng explains the loans are financed by government bond sales, which investors have previously seen as boring, stable investments. In today's turbulent market, however, he notes that stability can be seen as an advantage.

"We get our money from bonds sold on Wall Street to very large investors, such as life insurance companies and pension plans, that are looking for very safe vehicles in which to put their money. We don't anticipate the demand for this investment instrument to go away."

Eng says the SBA program doesn't cost taxpayers anything because the loan fees finance it. However, these loans cannot be used for working capital, inventory, or to repay debt. More information on the SBA 504 loan program is available at www.sba.gov.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA