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Stimulus bill helps Queens biz: Weiner

Small businesses in Queens have been benefiting from extra help provided by the federal stimulus bill, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) said Friday.

Speaking outside a Kew Gardens Hills Associated Supermarket, which received $3 million in loans from the U.S. Small Business Association, the congressman said the number of small business loans given out by banks has increased 16 percent over the last year, from 185 loans last year to 214 distributed out in Queens in 2010.

The cause of the rise in lending is a new regulation that was put in place by the stimulus bill that increased the SBA’s loan guarantee amount from 70 percent to 90 percent, according to Weiner.

“Small business that wanted to hire, wanted to expand ... they were unable to secure loans,” he said of the conditions before the stimulus.

With the new measures in place, banks have been less reluctant to give out the loans to small businesses in 2010, according to data from the congressman’s office. Last year, more than $262 million in SBA loans in the city were awarded to mom-and-pop stores, with roughly $69 million given to Queens small businesses, according to Weiner.

The congressman said the money has gone a long way toward healing the economy because the owners are not only using the funds to expand business, they are also making profits and paying back the loans.

“Small businesses have always been good investments for banks,” he said.

Kevin Kim, owner of the supermarket at 155-15 Aguilar Ave., agreed, saying that the $3 million he received from his bank has enhanced his store. He has replaced the flooring of his supermarket, bought new equipment, such as refrigerators and computers, and was able to hire 40 new employees.

“My customers are happy, my employees are happy and I’m happy,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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