WASHINGTON - The parent company of Horicon Bank has received $17 million in funding from the U.S. Treasury to be used for small business loans.
This week the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that five additional Wisconsin community banks received a total of $31.9 million as part of the final wave of funding provided through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF). The SBLF, which was established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law, encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses, helping those companies expand their operations and create new jobs.
The Wisconsin community banks receiving funding as part of the announcement include Sword Financial Corporation in Horicon, the parent company of Horicon Bank, 326 E. Lake St., which will receive $17 million.
"It's a program that you had to apply and qualify for," said Jay Vanden Boogart, executive vice president of Horicon Bank. "It's important that the public understands this is an investment."
The $17 million was received by Sword and Horicon last week and will be used to lend to small businesses in the bank's service area, in particular Dodge, Washington Winnebago, Green Lake, Fond du Lac and Outigamie counties. The strength of Sword Financial Corporation and Horicon Bank were important in the decision to award funds.
This money, Vanden Boogart is clear to state, is not a grant and should be looked at as an investment in the community through small business lending.
Overall, including today's announcement, 11 Wisconsin community banks received a total of $100.1 million in SBLF funding.
"Billions of dollars in SBLF funds are now being put to use in communities all across the nation, spurring small business growth and job creation," said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal S. Wolin. "These investments, which will help propel lending by Main Street banks, are good for our economy and good for America's small businesses."
Small businesses play a critical role in the U.S. economy and are central to growth and job creation. Small businesses employ roughly one-half of all Americans and account for about 60 percent of gross job creation. But small business owners faced disproportionate challenges in the aftermath of the recession and credit crisis, including difficulty accessing capital.
The SBLF helps small businesses meet this challenge by providing capital to community banks that hold under $10 billion in assets. The dividend rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as that bank increases its lending to small businesses - providing a strong incentive for new lending to small businesses so they can expand and create jobs.
The SBLF is one part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive agenda to help small businesses access the capital they need to invest and hire. The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which is also a key part of the Small Business Jobs Act, allocates $1.5 billion to new and existing state programs that will leverage private financing to spur $15 billion in new lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.
The Obama Administration has also supported 17 direct tax breaks that provide tax relief of more than $50 billion for small businesses. These tax breaks were designed to support job creation and retention, entrepreneurship, investment, and growth. The Administration has also worked with Congress to extend and expand existing Small Business Administration loan programs that helped put more than $42 billion in the hands of small businesses and deliver other important benefits to help small businesses expand and hire.