SBA loans rise in parts of state, Ore.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon small businesses have received a record number of taxpayer-guaranteed loans for the second consecutive year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The agency in 2011 guaranteed $391 million in loans in its Portland District, which includes Oregon and part of southwest Washington. That jumped to $428 million in loans last year.

“We’re on a record pace again this year,” said Robert DuCotè, acting director of the SBA Portland District Office.

The Statesman Journal reported the size of loans also is increasing following an October 2010 change in loan limits. The previous limit was $2 million and that increased to $5 million.

Most SBA lending is made in its 7(a) program, and over the last two years, 2,745 of the larger loans were made in the country, including 26 in Oregon.

“Five years ago, the average loan was about $185,000,” DuCotè said. “Today, it’s over $300,000.”

One recipient was Salem’s First Call Home Health Care. The company constructed a new building that opened in southeast Salem in 2012.

First Call borrowed $4.4 million in two loans through a separate corporation called First Call Investment.

The company also doubled its employment from 80 to 160.

“On the home care side, we can hire another 50 very easily in the next six months,” First Call CEO Jacob Mullins said.

In Oregon, 52 percent of loans and 62 percent of the loan money has gone to franchises. Among them are Dairy Queen, Subway, Travelodge, Quiznos and Best Western outlets.

“Franchising is a great opportunity. The SBA supports it a lot,” DuCotè said. “It’s a great way to get a business up and running.”

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