Ohio's Huntington Bank cites tax reform for spike in small business loans

By   – Staff reporter, Columbus Business First
Feb 13, 2018, 11:41am

Huntington Bank, already the second largest originator of small business loans, said it has seen a substantial spike in those loans this year.

The bank (NASDAQ: HBAN) says its expanded Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program has seen an increase of 44 percent on the year to more than 1,200 loan originations, a record for the company. And the overall dollars it has lent to companies has increased to $291 million, a 78 percent increase compared to what it did in the first quarter of 2017.

"SBA loans continue to be a smart strategic advantage for a wide range of businesses, from those looking to get a start, to those focused on gaining and keeping a competitive edge," Michael Wamsganz, Huntington's business banking director, said in a statement.

The company now is the leading small business loan lender in Illinois and Wisconsin. Ohio accounts for most of the loan volume with 547 loans totaling $146 million, followed by Michigan, where it originated 353 loans totaling $60.9 million. Overall, the regional bank provided substantial small business loans in nine states.

These numbers are no doubt boosted by the bank's enlarged presence in the Midwest following its $3.4 million acquisition of FirstMerit. Last month, Huntington said that move had boosted revenue by 22 percent in 2017 to $4.35 billion.

Huntington said in a statement that it saw high overall demand for lending, especially as businesses look for capital for acquisitions, startup financing and capital investments. The bank said this interest has been spurred in part by lower tax rates.

"Not only are small business owners encouraged by the drop in the tax rates for both businesses and individuals, but they're telling us their overall feeling is that of a much more stable environment," SBA program director Maggie Ference said in a statement.

"As they look to expand and grow, we're prepared to help business owners explore innovative ways to use excess funds in 2018 that are no longer earmarked for tax payments in 2019." 

Headquartered in Columbus, Huntington has $104 billion in assets under management and a network of 966 branches and 1,848 ATMS across eight states.

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