Pa. business loan program extended

    Businesses looking for loans from Pennsylvania can count on lower interest rates for a bit longer.

    The Corbett administration is extending a program for a few more months in the hopes of spurring more private sector investment.

    As pilot programs go, early indicators suggest lowering the interest rates for five business loan programs was a good one.

    Take the initiative to loan money to small businesses.

    Steve Kratz, a spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, says it received 37 applications in the roughly three-month period of the pilot program — compared with the 38 applications it received during all of last year.

    “Had the interest rates not been reduced, it’s hard to tell whether the projects would have moved forward or not,” Kratz said.

    Interest rates were lowered for five state loan programs from January through the end of March — from 2.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

    Now, they’ll be extended for applications submitted through the end of June for four of the programs, including those that do things such as help fund equipment purchases and pollution prevention efforts.

    But the previous interest rate is going back into effect for the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, which didn’t have the capacity to continue with the lower rate.

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