Huntington Bank reaches goal for small business loans - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Huntington Bank reaches goal for small business loans

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Huntington Bank said early today that it had exceeded its 2010 commitment to lend $4 billion to small businesses in six sates.

More than 24,000 small businesses, including 800 in West Virginia, obtained loans over the three-year period, helping to jump start hiring in Huntington's markets, which stretch from West Virginia to Michigan.

 "Huntington was one of the first banks during the economic downtown to commit to increased small business lending," said Huntington's President, Chairman and CEO Steve Steinour in a news release. "We made the commitment after listening to business owners who needed loans to navigate the weak economy, while investing in their businesses' future growth. We also hired more than 150 additional business bankers to work with businesses and take a second-look at loan applications to make certain nothing was missed in determining their qualifications for a loan."

The bank also offered turnaround lending for small businesses. With this portion of the program, a business that had a long history of success, but suffered losses during the recession, could obtain a turnaround loan if they had several quarters of profitability and reasonable projections for future growth.

One West Virginia company that received help from Huntington's goal to lend to small businesses was Charleston Brewing Company, a microbrewery that is expected to open in downtown Charleston next month.

"I developed a business plan for the brew pub. Everywhere I went, all the banks thought my business plan was great and they wished they could finance it," said Ann Saville, owner of the new microbrewery at the corner of Quarrier and Summers streets.

"I thought, well, Huntington took a risk on me. Huntington decided I had a good track record with Taylor Books. They did a little research, too, and decided they could do it through a Small Business Administration loan, which is a bit tedious."

Saville said she borrowed $600,000 from Huntington and invested some of her own retirement money to get Charleston Brewing off the ground.

"It's almost ready," she said Monday. "We brewed the first one today. It will be three weeks before it's drinkable. That's when we'll open."