Economy
8:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Millions of Federal Stimulus Dollars Going to Community Lending Oganizations in PA

The state's economic development arm says that it took a unique approach to sending out the most recent round of federal stimulus money to small businesses: it's about to give $29.2 million federal dollars to community lending organizations.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary, Alan Walker, said this is an uncommon approach.

"DCED asked our partners to find out what gaps needed to be filled. And who better to know than those on the front lines, talking to businesses on a daily basis? And I am proud to say that Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that requested proposals from our local partners," Walker said.

The stimulus couldn't come at a better time for small businesses having trouble getting approved for bank loans.

"Many businesses lost money in the past year or two or three because of the recession, and so, while the standards may have tightened but even in some cases remained the same among banks, businesses don't look great on paper," said Dan Betancourt, CEO of Community First Fund, which provides loans to small businesses mostly in the mid-state.

The funds were awarded to organizations that represent all 67 counties. Receivers of the money will be tasked with leveraging the grant funds with additional investments so that they can finance extra projects. The state estimates the investment in 12 agencies will create more than 6,000 jobs.