SBA-backed lending nears $34 million in Mesa County

Frances Padilla
Isabella Guzman

A federal agency backed nearly $34 million in business lending in Mesa County as part of a record-breaking fiscal year in Colorado.

According to the Colorado district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, 35 loans worth a combined $33.8 million were issued in Mesa County under the SBA 7 (a) and 504 programs during the 2021 fiscal year. Two more third party loans were issued under the 504 program.

Statewide, 1,965 loans worth a total of nearly $1.4 billion were issued under the 7(a), 504 and microlending programs. That’s an increase over the 2020 fiscal year of more than 30 percent in loan approvals and nearly 60 percent in dollar volume — as well as the largest dollar volume ever processed by the Colorado office.

Nationwide, the SBA backed more than 61,000 loans worth a collective $44.8 billion, also record levels for traditional lending.

The SBA doesn’t make direct loans through its 7(a) general guarantee program offering financing for equipment, land and working capital or 504 program for acquiring buildings, land, equipment and other fixed assets. By guaranteeing repayment of a portion of the loans, the agency enables lenders to extend financing to businesses that might not qualify under conventional terms.

Frances Padilla, director of the Colorado district office, said demand for traditional lending increased as the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19 pandemic relief programs expired. “Our lending partners have once again stepped up to fill the capital gap with our regular loan guarantee programs,” Padilla said. “As the Colorado district office moves towards business as normal, we all look forward to re-engaging with the small business community over the coming months.”

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said the agency delivered on its mission to help small businesses access capital, but more work remains. “While progress has been made, our data also tells a deeper story: Historic inequities in accessing capital persist, and we must do more to lower the barriers of entry to opportunity for all our entrepreneurs.”

In Mesa County, 2021 fiscal year lending levels constituted less than half of those for 2020. But 2,751 loans worth a combined $81.7 million were issued last year under the Paycheck Protection Program intended to keep employees on payrolls in the midst of the pandemic and related restrictions. 

For the 2019 fiscal year, 29 loans worth a total of almost $17 million were issued in Mesa County under the 7(a) and 504 programs.

For the 2021 fiscal year, most 7(a) and 504 loans were issued in Colorado in Front Range counties — 223 worth a total of almost $170 million in Denver alone.

But loans also were issued in neighboring Western Colorado counties — 18 worth a total of $18.5 million in Garfield County, 11 worth a total of $6.5 million in Montrose County and two worth a total $1.8 million in Delta County.

Of the 7(a) and 504 loans issued in Colorado, $190 million went to women-owned businesses and $71.3 million to veteran-owned businesses.

Nationwide, nearly 52,000 loans worth a combined $36.5 billion were issued under the 7(a) program. Another 9,600 loans worth a collective $8.2 billion were issued under the 504 program, exhausting funding authority for the first time. An additional 4,400 loans worth a total of $71.8 million under the microlending program.

Under the 7(a) program, $11 billion in loans were issued to minority business owners, nearly $5 billion to women-owned businesses and $1.2 billion to veteran-owned firms.

Under the 504 program, almost $1.9 billion in loans went to minority business owners and $712 million to women-owned businesses.