One of the Small Business Administration’s programs set a 50-year record in fiscal 2010, financing more loans than ever before.

The SBA’s Small Business Investment Company debenture program financed $1.59 billion,  a 23 percent increase.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 helped increase volume in the program.

“At a time when access to capital was tight, including from the traditional sources for growth capital, SBA helped fill some of that gap with a record amount of financing through our SBIC program,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

“Across the country, there are small business owners and entrepreneurs who are well- positioned to take that next step, grow their business and create good-paying jobs.

The SBIC program was created to stimulate small business-growth by supplementing the long-term debt and private-equity capital available to them.

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Also in fiscal year 2010, the number of licenses issued, 21, increased 130 percent over the four-year average of 10 per year. Additionally, SBIC license- processing time improved to just 5.8 months in fiscal year 2010, a nearly 60-percent decrease from an average of 14.6 months in 2009.