More than 20 U.S. military veterans have been approved for $2 million in small-business loans under a program launched last month by the Small Business Administration, the agency said this week.

Matthew J. Lattig of Virginia, who was approved for $350,000, and Waldemar Medina of Connecticut, who was approved for $100,000, were the nation's first two veterans to be approved for loans under the agency's newly minted Patriot Express Loan Initiative. Both recipients will be using the funds to launch new businesses, the agency said. A third recipient, Roger Stone, will use a $60,000 loan to support his Missouri-based electrical services business.

The program, launched on June 13, was designed to streamline the loan approval process for military veteran entrepreneurs. Some 375 banks and lending institutions are currently offering loans under the program, which require final approval by the SBA. So far, that procedure has taken less than 24 hours, the agency said.

"It is important for us to support those who have served our country, so I am particularly pleased by the quick turn around time it has taken us to begin processing and approving loans under the new program," SBA administrator Steven Preston said in a statement.