SBA Lending in Arkansas Rises in 2013

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

The reopening of Bruno’s Little Italy in downtown Little Rock was partially financed by an SBA loan through Arkansas Capital Corp., said co-owner Gio Bruno.

“We bought all of our equipment with that loan,” he said. “It was essential. We couldn’t have opened without that equipment loan.”

Arkansas Capital Corp. can also act as a mediator between the borrower and the SBA.

Gina Radke, CEO of Galley Support Innovations of Sherwood, said her company’s recently announced expansion was made possible by an SBA loan through Arkansas Capital Corp., and the process was improved over a previous SBA loan she obtained during the recession.

“That one was terribly strenuous to get,” she said of the earlier loan. “It was ridiculous. I actually went and spoke to [former] Congressman Vic Snyder and simply said, ‘Listen, this is a great program, but there’s no incentive for banks to do it; it’s not working properly.’ It took us a year and half to get that loan.”

But when Arkansas Capital Corp. handled her most recent SBA loan, Radke said, communication was much better.

Nelson at the SBA also said the administration has some micro-lenders that borrow money from the SBA at low interest rates and can refinance loans up to $50,000. These micro-lenders include alt.Consulting of Pine Bluff, Forge Inc. of Huntsville and Accion Texas of San Antonio, which has offices in Arkansas.

Working on Growth

Nelson said the SBA is working to improve its process and increase the number of loans approved.

She said the SBA has started streamlining its main program, reducing its loan applications down to a single process instead of several disparate ones.

“I think that will help bring some consistency for lenders,” she said. “That’s what they want. The smaller the bank, the more that individual loan officer is required to do.”

She added that she expects to see loans coming from the Blytheville and Osceola area thanks to the coming of Big River Steel.



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