Wells Fargo provided more SBA loans dollars to small businesses in Colorado than any other provider, according to information from the banking giant.

In the first two quarters of 2012, Wells Fargo made 117 loans totaling nearly $35.8 million.

“It’s a position we’ve held for a number of years,” said Cristie Drumm, Wells Fargo spokeswoman. “We are very pleased to see this trend continue.”

Nationwide, Wells Fargo approved more than $548 million in Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in the first half of federal fiscal year 2012, which is Oct. 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012.

The results were announced Thursday as the company kicked off its annual Small Business Appreciation Celebration.

“During a time of year when we celebrate the importance of small business to our nation’s economic recovery, it’s rewarding for us to meet the financing needs of thousands of small business customers,” said David Rader, head of SBA Lending for Wells Fargo.  “SBA loans are an important financing tool for many small business owners and we want to do everything we can to help small businesses stay competitive and grow.”

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Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 11 other states for the first six months of the federal fiscal year 2012: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming.

SBA 7(a) loans are extended to qualifying businesses in a wide range of industries that in general have average revenue of less than $20 million and 500 or fewer employees. In federal fiscal year 2011, Wells Fargo was the first lender to approve more than $1 billion in SBA 7(a) loans to small businesses in a year.