The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that it has purchased $21.4 million in small-business securities.

The three Treasury purchases of Small Business Administration-backed securities are the first such purchase under its small-business program announced a year ago.

"Treasury's announcement last year that we would provide a backstop to the secondary market that support SBA lending — combined with the Talf program — has helped unfreeze that market and create conditions where more small businesses could get SBA loans," a Treasury official said. "With Talf financing of SBA securities ending, we are starting purchases to ensure that a backstop remains in place and that the market improvements of the past year can be maintained."

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