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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 23, 2012

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Wells Fargo approved a record $1.24 billion in small business loans in the previous fiscal year. The dollar amount of the loans, backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is larger than any other bank’s originations made throughout the 2012 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012). The statistics marked the second consecutive year that Wells Fargo exceeded $1 billion in small business loans.

“It is very rewarding to know that every SBA loan we extend is helping American small business owners build their businesses for the longer term,” David Rader, head of Wells Fargo’s SBA Lending Division, said in a statement. “At Wells Fargo, we work hard to provide the financing that supports business growth and drives economic development and job creation in every community we serve. The fact that we approved more than $1 billion in SBA loans each of the last two years is a result of that hard work. While we take pride in our market leadership, we’re more proud that we provided the essential capital for thousands of customers across the country to start or invest in a small business.”

One recipient of the total of 3,176 separate small business loans went to Bill Hoyt of Tampa, Fla. Hoyt, a former Navy helicopter pilot, acquired a commercial landscaping firm with eight full-time employees. Hoyt’s business, Southern Pride Landscaping, was financed with a Wells Fargo SBA 7(a) business loan and secured with an SBA Express line of credit for working capital.

“The entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my blood, but I needed to find the right opportunity to use my management experience and skills, and the right financing to make it possible. In Southern Pride, I found a solid business with strong customer relationships and a reputation for great landscaping service that I could build further as an owner,” Hoyt said in Business Wire. “With Wells Fargo, I had a team of people who worked with me to secure an SBA loan, giving me confidence that I had the capital I needed to be successful from day one.”

Chris Ledesma, vice president of strategy for Wells Fargo’s SBA lending division, said the company ensures small business coverage. Although the average small business loan clocks in at $390,000, they are not opposed to lending on a smaller scale, according to The Street. Recently a California baby clothing company was approved for $91,000 of credit.

“We want to service every level of small business that we can,” Ledesma said in The Street. “We’re bullish of small-business lending.”

Ledesma said a new optimism is growing in small business owners, and their overall credit ratings are even improving.

“They’ve had time to find their new normal,” Ledesma said. “Their businesses and their cash flows are stabilizing. We’re finding more creditworthy borrowers, and that’s a good thing.”Ledesma said. “Their businesses and their cash flows are stabilizing. We’re finding more creditworthy borrowers, and that’s a good thing.”