A Treasury Department program that supplies credit to small businesses spurred $1.9 billion in loans and created or saved 53,000 jobs in its first 18 months of operation, the department says.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative, or SSBCI, claimed in its first annual report that it has enabled loans to more than 4,600 small businesses through state-backed programs. The program is designed to allow small businesses to use the money they receive to attract additional, private capital. So far $811 million of the $1.5 billion allocated to the program has been disbursed, and states have spent $565 million, permitting $1.9 billion of total lending, including this leverage.

The SSBCI, created in 2010, provides money to five types of state programs that support loans to small businesses: loan participation, venture capital, loan guarantee, collateral support and capital access. Its first full year of operation was 2012, and the data it released this week covers 2012 and the first half of this year. Forty-seven states have participated in the program, along with the District of Columbia, five territories and three municipalities.

The average size of a loan supported by the program was $327,000, and two-thirds of the loans were for less than $100,000. In addition, 42% of the loans were disbursed in low- to moderate-income communities.

"These federal funds are allowing small businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their operations, hire new workers, and power the economic recovery across America," Cyrus Amir-Mokri, assistant Treasury secretary, said in a news release Wednesday. "This program is an important component of the Obama administration's efforts to provide capital for small businesses."

Michigan spent $42 million through the program, which has permitted $222 million in total small-business financing, the highest figures for any state, the Treasury said. California ($18.1 million), Illinois ($17.3 million) and Florida ($16.9 million) were the next three largest spenders.

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