Pa. funnels $29 million to community lending groups

    Pennsylvania’s economic development officials say they took a unique approach to sending out the most recent round of federal stimulus money to small businesses.

    The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development is about to give out $29.2 million in federal dollars to community lending organizations.

    The department’s secretary says Pennsylvania was the only state to consult with such community loan funds to figure out where to send the cash.

    The stimulus couldn’t come at a better time for small businesses having trouble getting approved for bank loans, according to Dan Betancourt, the CEO of Community First Fund, which provides loans to small businesses.

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    “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,” he said.

    The funds were awarded to organizations that represent all 67 counties, and the state estimates the investment will create more than 6,000 jobs.

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