A California community bank will be among first financial institutions to participate in the government's $30 billion small-business loan program.

First California Financial Group Inc. in Westlake Village said late Monday that it has won preliminary approval from the Treasury Department to receive a low-interest loan from the Small Business Lending Fund that Congress created in September when it passed the Small Business Jobs Act.

The $1.8 billion-asset parent of First California Bank said that it would use the proceeds to repay the $25 million it received from the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Though the Treasury has so far received more than 700 applications for participation in the small-business loan program, First California is among the first banks to publicly announce that it has been approved for a loan.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill last month, lawmakers criticized Treasury officials for taking too long to distribute the funds, which are intended to stimulate small-business lending.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.