The Small Business Administration's plan to promote its loan programs to African-American entrepreneurs will help banks make more loans, bankers said.

"It will be a natural way to stimulate additional business," said Charles Malarkey, a senior vice president at Buffalo-based Marine Midland Bank and manager of its loan center.

The SBA recently announced plans to double the number of government- guaranteed loans made to African-American business owners during the next three years.

By Sept. 30, 2000, the agency plans to have guaranteed 9,300 loans through its 7(a) and 504 programs, totaling $1.4 billion. These loans will be for African-American borrowers financing large equipment and real estate purchases, the agency said.

The SBA sets loan goals but relies on 7,000 banks and other lenders to make the credits available. Overall, the federal agency hopes to guarantee 165,900 loans for nearly $36 billion in the next three years.

The SBA will promote the loan programs through alliances with businesses and civil rights groups such as the National Urban League and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

Peggy Bradshaw, a senior vice president and manager of SBA lending at Detroit-based Comerica Inc., said the agency's plan to work with community groups will help banks make more loans.

"Those organizations help train people and give them the tools to understand what banks look for in a loan application," she said. "This creates a greater opportunity for us to penetrate minority communities."

Mr. Malarkey of Marine Midland said the SBA's loan programs are particularly useful for lending to minority-owned businesses that lack enough collateral to qualify for traditional bank loans.

According to the SBA, the total of African-American-owned businesses nationwide increased 46%, to 621,000, from 1987 to 1992. The overall number of small businesses increased 26% during this period.

Last year, the SBA pledged to guarantee 13,400 loans, totaling $2.5 billion, to Latino business owners by 2000. The agency is working with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to promote this loan program.

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