ROY -- Zions First National Bank has announced its rank as the top lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah during 2011. Zions has ranked as Utah's No.1 SBA lender for the past 18 consecutive years, and has been the top SBA lender in Idaho's Boise District for the past ten consecutive years.
Zions Bank and its affiliates approved 555 SBA 7(a) loans in Utah, totaling $77.3 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011. These loans represent 35 percent of the 1,561 SBA-backed loans approved in the state during fiscal year 2011.
Capital provided through Zions Bank's SBA loans helped Utah businesses grow so that they could hire 1,218 new employees and retain 4,314 positions, totaling 5,532 jobs, according to SBA data.
Small businesses like Burrito Grande in Roy are helping the Utah economy during a time of slow economic recovery. Entrepreneur Carlos Soto launched his first sit-down Mexican restaurant on Washington Blvd. with his family in 2000. After expanding to its current location with 10 employees and 25 tables in Roy, the company received an SBA 7(a) loan from Zions in February 2011 to expand. Now Soto has built a new restaurant from the ground up, located at 56 E. 1700 S. in Clearfield, scheduled to open the first week of December. Because it will run two shifts from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily, Soto is hiring 15 new employees.
"In this economy, people like to enjoy a restaurant with affordable prices," Soto said of his growth. "We not only create jobs, but help our communities."
Because they hire workers, small businesses like Burrito Grande restaurant are key drivers of the economy, according to Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. "Roughly 97 percent of companies in Utah qualify as small businesses, and we know they help fuel our economic growth because they are the principal source of new jobs. As the state's top SBA lender, Zions Bank is proud to be part of the economic solution by offering support and expertise to entrepreneurs," he said.
Zions Bank also leads all other financial institutions in Utah in marketing SBA loans to women-owned businesses and new start-ups. During fiscal year 2011, 30 percent of the SBA loans approved by Zions Bank were to women, and 30 percent were made to new businesses.
SBA 7(a) loans are the most basic and most used type of loan in SBA's business programs. The program offers up to 25-year, fully amortized loans that result in lower monthly payments for the borrower. Proceeds from the 7(a) program may be used for most business purposes, including the purchase of real estate for business operations, acquisition of equipment, and working capital.