$5B GE loans could signal healthcare lending boom

Riding a boom created by the coming wave of federal healthcare reform, GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services' loan portfolio showed double-digit growth over last year, reports the Washington Post.

Overall, the division, a part of GE Capital Americas, has lent $5 billion through the first nine months of 2011, up about 15 percent from a year ago. It's hired about 30 new employees, boosting its staff to 220.

"Healthcare has seen a lot of activity, given some of the expectations around reform and changes to the healthcare system," said Darren Alcus, chief executive officer of the lending arm. "You've seen a lot of consolidation, companies growing organically --some in preparation for anticipated changes to the system, others defensibly."

Although the division has lent a lot of money to healthcare IT firms, Alcus sees long-term care facilities as a potential big area for growth.

"The demographics facing that business are tremendous," he told the Post. "There is something like 30 million seniors in this country over 70 years of age. There will continue to be tremendous demand for health care facilities to serve the aging population."

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- here's the GE press release