BY BRANDON SAWYER
Business lending nationally is almost back to 2008 levels, but small businesses are getting less, particularly in Oregon. While the SBA’s Portland District loaned a record-breaking $428.7 million in 2012, much of the volume was commercial real estate refinancing into the SBA’s 504 loan program. And even though SBA lending is up, the far larger marketplace of FDIC-insured commercial banks and savings institutions has been shunning small business. Loans of $1 million or less from such banks have been on a steady decline in Oregon and nationwide. Because the state has a higher proportion of small business, it lags the country for lending growth. Total business loans grew 15% in the U.S. this year, but only 2% in Oregon.