The U.S. Small Business Administration may have lost some of its top lenders in Central Pennsylvania, but the agency still managed to back a growing number of loans in the region.

SBA loans in the midstate rose both in number and value in the six months following Oct. 1, the start of the agency’s fiscal year, according to a mid-year report by the agency.

The SBA said it backed 141 loans in the six-month period, up from 113 for the same period a year ago. Loan amounts totaled $39.8 million for the most recent six months, up from $28.5 million.The average loan amount for the period fell about $40,000 compared to the same period a year ago.

The regional increases are for loans made under the agency’s flagship and most commonly used loan program, the 7(a) program, which can be used to establish a new business or assist in the acquisition, operation or expansion of an existing business.

The SBA’s Central Pennsylvania region covers Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union and York counties.

SBA officials worried in late 2015 that its lending programs would take a hit in the midstate after some of its most active lenders — Susquehanna and Metro Bank, in particular — left the market through acquisitions.

“We’re delighted to see lenders continuing to leverage SBA guaranteed lending programs to provide vital capital to small businesses in Central Pennsylvania, during a time that has seen mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector,” said Antonio (Tony) Leta, Director, U.S. Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania District.

For all SBA-backed loans in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties, Lower Paxton Township-based Centric Bank lent the most money: $6.9 million on 10 loans. The Dauphin County bank’s total was buoyed by a $5 million loan in Lebanon County.

The EDC Finance Corp.in Lancaster County lent the second-highest amount of money: about $5.9 million on nine loans.

M&T Bank was by far the leader in the number of SBA loans, at 41. Wells Fargo Bank was second, at 16, while the former Metro Bank, acquired in mid-February by First National Bank of Pennsylvania, came in third, with 12.

Read the full article from Central Penn Business Journal here.