Citizens steps up SBA lending

February 20, 2009
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Stimulus bill provides the incentive.

Citizens Bank announced it will increase the number of SBA loans it provides as a result of the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus package that provides new incentives to boost small business lending. Citizens Bank is the leading SBA lender in terms of dollars lent in Michigan, with $28,152,500 in loans in fiscal 2008.

Citizens ranks No. 1 in the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program in Michigan. Preferred lenders have the ability to approve SBA loan applications in-house on behalf of the SBA, which allows for extremely fast loan approvals and quicker loan closings.

“Citizens Bank has the successful platform to expand our support of the small businesses that are the heart of Michigan’s economy,” said Citizen’s President and CEO Cathleen H. Nash. “We already have helped hundreds of small businesses to grow and succeed, in turn creating new jobs for many Michigan residents. The stimulus package provides additional resources that greatly enhance our efforts, and will increase the number of small businesses who are able to obtain assistance.”

According to Citizens Bank, the stimulus package increases the government guarantee on certain types of SBA loans from 75 percent to 90 percent and temporarily removes the guarantee fees the SBA charges lenders and borrowers. On a $1 million loan, for instance, a borrower would save $26,250.

“One of the key objectives of the stimulus package was to unclog the market for SBA loans and we plan on fully utilizing the new incentives to do just that,” said Thomas G. Zernick, vice president and head of SBA Lending at Citizens. “Citizens Bank has maintained its commitment to the small businesses of Michigan through these difficult times. The new programs will allow us to help more businesses achieve their goals.”

Citizens Bank has locations in Michigan, including Grand Rapids and Holland, and in Wisconsin and Ohio.

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