Small business loans in the region made through a federally backed program declined sharply in October compared to a year ago, hurt by the absence of First Niagara Bank.
The Small Business Administration’s Advantage Loan Program — the new name for the agency’s long-time 7(a) program — recorded 61 loans for a combined $ 7.75 million in the Buffalo-Rochester region, compared to 86 loans for $ 10.2 million in October 2015.
First Niagara Bank disappeared from the program after being acquired by KeyBank. A year ago, First Niagara accounted for 12 loans worth $ 1.6 million. Key didn’t record any Advantage loans in October, compared to three in October 2015.
Key expects SBA lending “to be a major component of its success” next year, said Kate Croft, a Key spokeswoman. “With an expanded team of bankers, including new colleagues from First Niagara, KeyBank is increasing its efforts to help small business clients grow. KeyBank expects to see these efforts begin to be reflected in SBA loan volume in 2017. “
M&T led participating lenders with 21 Advantage Loan Program loans. In dollars, First Bank Financial Centre, based in Wisconsin, led the group with one loan valued at $ 2.85 million.