CLEVELAND, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- KeyBank today announced it increased its 2016 7(a) Small Business Administration (SBA) lending to $222 million during the SBA's FY 2016, representing a 44 percent jump in loan volume from 2015 levels. The increase is the largest among the nation's top 20 SBA lenders with $15 billion or more in assets and a record-breaking loan volume for Key, according to recently released rankings information from the SBA. Key earned a top three ranking in loan volume in four SBA districts and increased loan volume by 40 percent or more in 11 districts, including: Buffalo, Colorado, Columbus, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Portland (OR), Seattle, Utah and Vermont. "This growth reflects a robust environment for small businesses across the U.S.," said Jim Fliss, National SBA Manager. "It also is a testament to KeyBank's long-term commitment to the SBA's programs and underscores the flexible financing solutions these programs provide to benefit businesses. We've invested heavily in all areas of our national SBA lending platform, from loan origination through closing, to ensure that business owners can efficiently access the capital they need while receiving the highest level of service and attention from our specialized SBA lending staff." In 2017, KeyBank forecasts strong demand for SBA programs coming off another record lending performance set by the SBA this year. Key has plans in place to expand its reach into new and existing markets. "We are excited about our recent acquisition of First Niagara. This will allow us to better service the entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Haven. In addition, we have seen sustained SBA expansion across the country, especially in the Cleveland, Columbus, Colorado, Portland (OR) and Seattle SBA districts. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities in 2017 by supporting the growth of the local businesses that help them thrive," said Fliss.