WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Small Business Lending Fund participants increased lending by about $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 over the third quarter, federal officials said.
Program participants have increased small business lending by about $8.9 billion since 2009 during the recession, representing an estimated 38,000 additional small business loans, the Treasury Department said Wednesday in a release.
The department said it was the seventh straight quarter of boosted lending.
"In every region of the country, the ... Small Business Lending Fund is supporting small and family-owned businesses with the funds they need to create jobs and grow," Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin said. "This quarter's report shows that SBLF participants are continuing to help thousands of small businesses invest, hire, and expand in their local communities."
The fund, established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act President Obama signed into law in 2010, encourages community banks to increase lending to small businesses. Treasury officials said the report includes information on 320 institutions participating in the program as of March 15, including 270 community banks and 50 community development loan funds.