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M&T Bank Corp. was the dominant leader locally under a U.S. Small Business Administration loan program for the 19th straight year.

For the just-ended 2013 federal fiscal year, M&T was tops in volume as measured by loan dollars – about $45 million – in the Buffalo-Rochester market for the SBA’s 7(a) loan program, a popular source of financing by many small businesses. The federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

M&T was followed by First Niagara Financial Group ($13.7 million), Five Star ($10.2 million), and Evans Bank ($9.3 million). Total loan value across all institutions was $121.8 million; M&T accounted for 37 percent of the total.

M&T was also No. 1 in total number of loans approved over the 12-month span, at 260. First Niagara was second, with 111, followed by Five Star Bank (78) and Evans Bank (40) and Canandaigua National Bank (32).

Overall, 31 institutions made 658 of the loans, up 8 percent from the year before. M&T accounted for nearly 40 percent of the loans in fiscal 2013.

Under the 7(a) program, the government provides guarantees for up to 85 percent of the principal amount of a loan. The program helps businesses who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining loans by giving the banks more reassurance to lend to them.

Franklin J. Sciortino, the SBA’s district director, said increased lending by First Niagara and Canandaigua National Bank helped the district meet the SBA’s goals for lending.

Sciortino said the district’s lending activities supported 2,100 jobs in its 14-county service territory, including 838 new positions the SBA said directly resulted from the agency’s assistance. The loan approvals supported 250 businesses that were two years old or less, the agency said.

The SBA typically releases the 7(a) program’s monthly statistics early the following month, but the schedule was pushed back this month because of the federal government’s partial shutdown, which has ended.

The effects of the federal government shutdown could show up in the October results for 7(a) loans, since the shutdown suspended the loan approval process. And while many applications were stuck in the pipeline and are now being reviewed, it is not known if the shutdown discouraged any businesses from applying for loans.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com