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M&T, Five Star lead in small business lending

M&T Bank and Five Star Bank are leading the way in a federal government-guaranteed loan program through the first five months of the fiscal year.

M&T led in total dollars loaned in the Buffalo-Rochester market under the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program, with $6.5 million through February. Five Star Bank was second, at $6 million.

Meanwhile, Five Star led in the total number of loans, with 90, ahead of M&T’s 79. First Niagara Financial Group ranked third in both loans and dollar volume.

The SBA program provides government guarantees of 75 to 85 percent on loans made by private lenders to start-ups and small businesses, as a means of encouraging banks to make more such loans.

Through February, participating lenders generated 363 loans, up 29 percent from a year ago. But the dollar total fell 11 percent, to $47.2 million.