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Despite change in competition, M&T keeps lead on business loans

M&T Bank Corp. is again taking the lead for small business lending locally, but it's biggest competition is now coming from First Niagara Financial Group, not HSBC Bank USA.

As of the end of October -- one month into the U.S. Small Business Administration's new fiscal year -- Buffalo-based M&T had racked up 13 loans here under the agency's flagship 7(a) guarantee program, totaling $1.63 million. It also had two loans under the 504 program for fixed-rate, long-term construction loans, totaling $581,125.

Lockport-based First Niagara took second, with nine loans for just over $1 million. Greater Buffalo Savings Bank had given out more money -- $1.22 million -- but in just two loans, one for $1.2 million.

Tied for third in the number of loans, with five each, were Evans National Bank of Angola, Cleveland-based KeyCorp, and Citizens Financial Group of Rhode Island, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. They gave out $650,000, $617,500, and $94,500, respectively.

For the entire district, which encompasses Buffalo and Rochester, M&T had provided 21 loans totaling $2.27 million, followed by First Niagara with 10 loans totaling $1.4 million. Citizens was third in number of loans, with nine, but was 7th for dollars, at $230,500. Its activity was almost evenly split between the two cities.

Key made seven loans totaling $810,500, ranking it fourth, while Warsaw-based Five Star Bank was fifth, with six loans totaling $170,000 -- four of which were in the Buffalo area.

HSBC, which is normally No. 2, had just four loans in the district, totaling $155,000, split between both cities.

Separately, Evans announced a special loan program for businesses in the Village of Hamburg that are currently affected by construction projects. The program can use SBA loan guarantees where needed, officials said.

Under the Village of Hamburg Redevelopment Loan Program, offered in conjunction with the New York State Business Development Corp., business owners can apply for a $15,000-to-$50,000 loan at a special rate equal to the prime rate -- currently 7.5 percent -- minus 0.25 percent. The loan includes an interest-only option for the first 12 months.

Applications are available through the bank.

"Evans National Bank proudly supports local businesses throughout our Western New York communities," said David J. Nasca, the bank's president and chief executive officer. "We understand the challenges facing Hamburg Village business owners during this period of reconstruction, and are pleased to offer this opportunity to assist them."


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