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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDeJongh Seeks SBA Help to Increase Local Lending

DeJongh Seeks SBA Help to Increase Local Lending

Citing the scarcity of commercial loans from Virgin Islands banks with access to its loan guarantees and other financial vehicles, Gov. John deJongh Jr. wrote the region’s U.S. Small Business Association director this week, hoping ultimately to spur more commercial lending, according to Government House.

In the letter, deJongh thanked SBA District Director Yvette Collazo for her past and ongoing support of V.I. small business activity. As an example, he cited the recent announcement that a new surety bonding agency, which is participating in an SBA program, will begin bonding construction projects in the territory.

"The construction industry is one of our most important sectors in fostering small business ownership and employment and the access to bonding will only further the opportunities to the participants in this niche," deJongh wrote in his letter. [deJongh Letter to Yvette Collazo]

"I remain concerned about the absence of meaningful commercial loan activity by our local banks, and especially in accessing the vehicles made available by the U.S. Small Business Administration," deJongh wrote.

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In the last year, from July 2012 to July 2013, local banks made $677,000 worth of SBA commercial loans in the Virgin Islands, a small improvement from the $435,000 loaned the previous year.

“These are dismal numbers,” deJongh wrote to Collazo.

For that reason, the governor requested a discussion with Collazo on how to achieve the strategic goals she laid out for the district, including increased use of the SBA to spur economic activity, a more targeted outreach to specific communities, educating credit unions on tools available to them, greater use of Certified Development Company loans and embracing nontraditional programs, such as innovation research.

“In order for our economy to grow, we need to ensure that our businesses have meaningful access to funding and, with the SBA indicating they are a willing partner, there is no reason more cannot be done. My administration embraces all of the SBA’s initiatives. We just need more to be done by our banks in terms of participation and providing the opportunities,” deJongh said.

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