A look at the Small Business Administration’s rankings of the best field offices turns up some surprises. The agency’s western outposts tend to outperform their East Coast peers. Though the rankings are based on a number of factors, the chart below follows the money, listing offices' key lending statistics.
1. San Diego
Has topped the list for more than a year thanks to large tourism and military markets.
The district director prides himself on rarely writing off bad loans.
3. North Dakota
Connects rural clients with the SBA through Web seminars.
4. Boise, Idaho
Works with the state treasury to give clients prime-interest-rate loans.
The office's loan volume in 2005 is 90% ahead of where it was last year.
Makes Top 10 after a two-decade slump by offering small loans (under $50,000) to start-ups.
Average loan amount is $100,000 more than any other Top 10 office.
8. El Paso
Expects loan volume to increase as local military base expands by 10,000 troops.
9. Los Angeles
A high percentage of loans goes to minority-owned businesses.
Partners with local faith-based organizations to reach new clients.
* rankings and figures are year-to-date through May 31, 2005, for fiscal year 2005. Cleveland's figures are as of June 3, 2005. Arizona's are as of March 31, 2005.