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SAN FRANCISCO-Bank of America, California’s biggest bank, has decided to cease participation in a U.S. Small Business Administration loan program that assists small business owners in buying the property that they lease.

Bank of America has not released specific details as to why it will not continue to participate in the 504-loan program, stating only that it plans to focus mainly on a more popular SBA 7(a) loan program, which is a less-specific loan plan that does not restrict loans to real estate.

During the first nine months of SBA’s fiscal year, BofA made 11 loans in the San Francisco area totaling $8.1 million through the 504 program, under which business owners make a down payment of 10 percent, the bank provides a first mortgage of 50 percent and the SBA provides a second mortgage of 40 percent. However, the 504 program restricts loans to real estate and there has been a significant decline in businesses interested in making real estate purchases.

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