The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that their loan programs have posted the second largest dollar volume ever in fiscal year 2012, such programs supporting $30.25 billion in loans to small businesses comprised of 53,848 loans.

The amount supported under the SBA’s 7(a) General Business Loan Program and the 504 Certified Development Company Loan Program were about equal. This strong pace was largely due to a record year for the 504 program, which partially resulted from the recently expired 504 refinancing program – part of the incentive package under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

2012 was surpassed only by 2011, which was also influenced by the loan incentives contained in the Jobs Act. The SBA supported $30.5 billion of loans in 2011 (61,689 loans) and $22.6 billion in 2010 (60,771 loans).

The SBA also announced that 1,300 lending institutions have returned to SBA lending.

This is encouraging news, though it remains challenging for new franchisees with limited operational history to obtain access to capital. Of course, it can be very helpful for the franchisees in a system to obtain loans supported by the SBA if the franchisor is approved and listed on the Franchise Registry of the SBA.