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County small business lending holds strong 

Even in the midst of a national credit crisis, SLO County banks are giving more small business loans than any other county in the U.S. Small Business Administration Central California district.

According to the administration, SLO County gave 12 small business loans during the first two months of fiscal year 2009. SLO County even gave more loans than Fresno County, which has about three times the population. Although there were fewer loans made in SLO County in 2008 than in 2007, the 2008 loans exceeded those of the  previous year by $3.1 million.

“I wish what’s happening in San Luis Obispo [County] could be duplicated all throughout California,” Fresno district office Director Carlos Mendoza said.

He added that the other five California districts are generally experiencing small business loan reductions of about 30 percent.

Mendoza attributed the stable small business environment to local banks. Deputy District Director Ronald Truly agreed.

“This speaks well for the entrepreneurial and lending climate in SLO County,” he said in a news release, “even considering the smaller comparative population of SLO County with other counties in this SBA district.”

—Colin Rigley

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