The U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report showing that Pennsylvania banks receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) continue to increase their small business lending, in total by $379.1 million over their baselines.

The SBLF, established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law in 2010, encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses, helping those companies expand their operations and create new jobs. Treasury invested more than $4 billion in 332 institutions through the SBLF. Collectively, these institutions operate in over 3,000 locations across 48 states.

This Use of Funds report comes shortly after the first anniversary of the Small Business Lending Fund. To date, institutions participating in the program have increased lending to small businesses by $6.7 billion over the baseline and by $1.5 billion over the prior quarter.

“Today’s report is further indication that the Administration’s Small Business Lending Fund is continuing to help create an environment in which entrepreneurial small businesses can succeed and excel,” said deputy secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin. “Banks in the SBLF program continue to show large increases in the lending available for small businesses to grow, create jobs, and support families in communities across the country.”

Small businesses play a critical role in the U.S. economy and are central to growth and job creation. Small businesses employ roughly one-half of all Americans and account for about 60% of gross job creation. In the aftermath of the recession and credit crisis, small business owners faced disproportionate challenges, including difficulty accessing capital.

The SBLF helps small businesses meet this challenge by providing capital to community banks that hold under $10 billion in assets. The dividend rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as that bank increases its lending to small businesses