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October 5, 2023

SBA lending in CT increased 18.5% in fiscal 2023; M&T Bank, Webster Bank are top lenders

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED An M&T Bank branch at 117 Washington Ave. in North Haven.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Connecticut District Office facilitated $362.2 million in lending to the state’s small businesses over the last 12 months, an 18.5% increase over the previous year.

SBA’s recently completed fiscal year ran from October 2022 to September 2023. During that time, the Connecticut office oversaw 834 traditional loans, a 12.7% increase from a year earlier, according to newly released federal data.

The funding disbursed in fiscal year 2023 included $290.4 million in 7(a) loans — in which the SBA guarantees the repayment of a certain portion of a private lender’s loan — to 744 small businesses. 

That was up 23.7% from the $234.7 million in 7(a) loans recorded in fiscal year 2022.

Additionally, $71.7 million was borrowed by 90 small businesses through 504 loans, which provide long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets — usually equipment or real estate. That figure was up from $70.8 million in fiscal 2022.

New York-based M&T Bank issued the most 7(a) loans in Connecticut last year — 126 worth $18.1 million, or $143,762 per loan. 

Waterbury-based Webster Bank recorded the largest 7(a) loan volume of $45 million, which was down from $49.1 million in fiscal 2022, SBA data shows. Webster Bank issued 117 7(a) loans in fiscal 2023 vs. 190 in fiscal 2022, SBA data shows.

M&T Bank also recorded the largest year-over-year increase in 7(a) loan production. In fiscal 2022, M&T issued 75 SBA loans worth $9.7 million. 

Lisa Gubernick is a business banking market manager and executive vice president at M&T Bank. She said M&T’s SBA lending in Connecticut went to a cross-section of businesses, including contractors, salons, retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, among others. 

Key to the growth, she said, is M&T’s partnership strategy, through which its retail branch managers, business banking relationship managers and in-house SBA teams work together to seek out and counsel new business customers. 

“We show up as one team, no matter what our specific role might be, whether it's customer facing, or whether it's our SBA support teams that don't directly face the customer but support us in our customer-facing role. We all go to market together,” Gubernick said.

The SBA loan growth was also spurred, in part, by M&T's 2021 commitment to invest $43 billion in low- to moderate-income communities through loans and other financial support. That five-year Community Growth Plan was developed in conjunction with M&T's proposed acquisition of People's United Bank.

M&T completed its $8.3 billion purchase of People’s United in April 2022.

Gubernick, who has been with the bank for 26 years, didn’t project what M&T’s SBA loan volume might be for the current fiscal year. However, she did say the focus is on building a “sustainable foundation” that will allow M&T to service as many customers as possible on an annual basis.

“We want to provide access to capital for as many customers in the community as possible,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Massachusetts-based New England Certified Development Corp., or CDC New England, led the state in 504 loans.

The nonprofit Certified Development Company, which has an office in downtown Hartford, issued 46 504 loans in fiscal 2023 valued at nearly $37 million. 

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