Small businesses acquire loans to expand

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Some local community banks are partnering with the Small Business Administration to help small businesses take advantage of affordable loans to expand as the economy tries to recover.

Many economists believe it will be small businesses that help lead the

country out of recession if or when they begin hiring again.

But many of those businesses ready to expand are having a hard time finding the money.

At Hollywood Imports in Vestavia Hills, owner Michael Schefano was ready to buy the building he'd been renting, but had a hard time finding a bank willing to loan him the money, until he hooked up with a Small Business Administration lender.

"As we looked around this was about the only thing out there," Schefano said.

"We came together and found a financial package that worked for the

benefit of the borrower," said Alabama Small Business Capital Vice

President Angie Winter.

Community bank SouthCity was willing to help with the loan.

"We keep hearing that banks aren't lending, and i don't think that's true in this market," said Elam Holley, SouthCity's president. "We at SouthCity and other banks are ready to lend to people who are obviously qualified for the credit."

"We're seeing much increased activity all over the state," Winter said. "Things all the way from Baldwin county to Huntsville. We've just been really really busy with new applications coming in, so it's taken off."

Lenders say any small business owner can qualify if you've got a solid business plan and can prove how your company will grow and be able to pay back these loans.