The number of loans to small businesses owned by women in New Jersey has jumped 48 percent in the first five months of fiscal 2016.

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Al Titone, Small Business Administration New Jersey district director, says they have been doing a great deal of outreach to women business owners in the state. And the banks have also loosened the purse strings to lend a total of more than $130 million dollars over a five-month period.

"The lenders overall seem to have more of a willingness to lend to our women-owned businesses. And of course, the businesses themselves seem to be better prepared as they are going in to meet the lenders. I think that it is a combination of all of these things."

The Small Business Administration has a number of different programs specifically designed for women. There are two women's business centers in New Jersey, in addition to small business development centers and SCORE centers.

But Al Titone also says that over the last several years, women, as a percentage, have been starting businesses more than men have, "so that is part of it. I think that we are seeing just a lot more activity overall."

Titone says the loans not only provide business capital for these women who operate small businesses, they also help Jersey's job picture, "that is kind of how we also look at the loans that are SBA-backed, what are we doing to create or save jobs."

The average size of the loans during this five-month period was $324,000. Among the top lenders to New Jersey business owners, Wells Fargo Bank allowed 27 loans. They were followed by TD Bank with 16 loans.

Also, year-to-date, SBA-approved loans are up 15 percent over the same period last year.

Fore more information about Small Business Administration-backed loans, call 973-645-2434, or visit for more information.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5