Community Trust Bank receives $48.3 million from federal lending fund

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Thursday that Community Trust Bank, headquartered in Ruston, has received $48.3 million as part of the Small Business Lending Fund.

The SBLF is part of the Small Business Jobs Act signed into law by President Obama and encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses in order to foster the growth and success of those companies and create new jobs.

The SBLF provides capital to community banks that hold under $10 billion in assets. Community Trust is one of the first six financial services institutions approved for this program.

“Community Trust is proud to be one of the first six banks selected to participate in the Small Business Lending Fund,” Drake Mills, president and CEO said in a news release.

“This program allows us to enhance our partnerships with small businesses, which drives economic growth.”

Community Trust is a nearly 100-year-old financial institution with assets in excess of $2 billion, operating 28 banking centers in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

“Expanding access to credit for small businesses will provide a powerful spark for growth and job creation,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a news release. “These funds will help ensure that more Main Street entrepreneurs have the opportunity to expand their businesses, invest in their local communities, and create new jobs.”

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, small businesses play a vital role in the economy and employ about half of all Americans. Small business also account for 60 percent of gross job creation.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which is also a key part of the Small Business Jobs Act, allocates $1.5 billion to new and existing state programs that will leverage private financing to spur $15 billion in new lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.

A total of 54 states and territories applied to take part in the SSBCI and 14 states have already had their applications approved for $488 million in SSBCI funding.

Other recipients include Level One Bancorp, Inc in Michigan; Pioneer Bank, SSB in Texas; ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. in Alabama; U&I Financial Corp. in Washington and Virginia Heritage Bank in Virginia.

Community Trust received the most funding of the first wave of recipients.

Additional SBLF funding announcements will be made on a rolling basis in the weeks ahead.

The NewsStar July 7,2011