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Wells Fargo top lender to small businesses, data show

Wells Fargo Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Nevada, reported that it led in small-business lending in the Las Vegas area last year, based on federal statistics.

The bank made 16,300 small-business loans of less than $100,000 for a total of $328 million in 2006, the most recent statistics available under the Community Reinvestment Act show.

In the previous year, the bank said it also led in the Las Vegas area with $235 million in 11,600 small-business loans.

In its report Monday, Wells Fargo said it was the top lender to small businesses in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in the Las Vegas area with 2,600 loans for $55 million. That’s up from $43 million in 2,100 small-business loans in these neighborhoods in 2005.

The bank was also first in small-business loans and small-business loans in low- to moderate-income areas in 2005.

These statistics do not include loans with Small Business Administration guarantees. The loan totals include business credit cards and other lines of credit, and small loans such as those for equipment purchases.

The federal law requires the bank to break out numbers for low- to moderate- income neighborhoods.

The bank said it was unable to identify the neighborhoods with low- to moderate-incomes.

The borrowers range from restaurants to dry cleaners, nail salons and consulting firms with less than $2 million in annual revenue. Businesses with this amount of revenue account for 95 percent of all businesses nationally.

Ravi Chandra, Wells Fargo’s small business district manager, attributed the bank’s small-business loan leadership to a staff of 60 small-business specialists who visit business sites to offer customers a range of products.

Wells Fargo declined to identify the second-place bank in small-business lending.

Nationally, Wells Fargo said it increased its small business lending by 18 percent to $21 billion of loans of less than $100,000 in 2006.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0420.

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