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Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 10:55am

GA Banks Seek Small Business Lending Funds

Community banks across the state are signing up for a federal program that helps them lend small businesses money.

Congress set up the 30 billion dollar Small Business Fund last year to boost job growth through small business hiring.

Qualifying banks will pay a low interest rate on government loans to help finance small businesses.

The more loans the banks make the lower the rate they have to pay.

Georgia Bankers Association President Joe Brannen says, the program offers much needed relief as small banks struggle to make loans.

"When capitol is hard to come by this is a capitol source that’s unique and short-term and only available to community banks. So we see it as an opportunity for some banks to increase their small business lending."

So far several community banks in Savannah and Augusta have enrolled in the program.

Brannen says he expects many more will also sign up by the final deadline in early June.