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Signs of Life in Small-Business Funding A look at some of the more hopeful signals from the world of commercial lending, community banks, credit unions and venture backers

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The words good news and commercial lending haven't been common in the same sentence for years. However, several recent developments in commercial lending offer signs of easing from tightfisted lenders.

"Necessity is the mother of invention, so people have been finding creative ways to get financing," says Portland, Ore.-based business expert Steven Strauss, author of Get Your Business Funded: Creative Strategies for Getting the Money You Need. "But it's actually a pretty good time to go out and get a business loan." Legislation, stimulus money and a recovering economy are all contributing to a better commercial lending landscape, he says.

When it was signed into law, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 established a $30 billion fund that encourages lending to small businesses by providing capital to qualified community banks with assets of less than $10 billion. The Small Business Lending Fund provides those lenders with low-cost capital with an interest rate as low as 1 percent if they best their 2009 small-business lending levels--a strong incentive to dole out the dough.

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