One credit union was recently named Utah’s top lender for 2011 by the SBA and two others are turning to the agency’s loans to help more small businesses.

The $2.9 billion Mountain America Credit Union in Salt Lake City said it received the SBA’s 2011 Lender of the Year award in the large lender category.

The credit union also received the agency’s 2011 Blaine Andrus Memorial award. The honor recognizes a financial institution’s community efforts and the diversity of its small business lending programs. The award is named for Utah native Blaine Andrus, who helped lead the Utah SBA office until his death in December 2008.

Meanwhile, the $1.6 billion Technology Credit Union in San Jose, Calif., was recently named to the SBA’s Preferred Lender program. The status allows lenders to document and process SBA loan requests on behalf of the agency, streamline the application process and reduce the time between a request and funding for a business.

Tech CU was ranked in the top 20 highest producing lenders of SBA guaranteed loans to small businesses in the San Francisco district from Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, according to SBA San Francisco District Director Mark Quinn.

To continue to build its SBA’s presence, Tech CU has hired Niki Wong, as vice president of commercial and industrial loans. Wong previously worked as a senior SBA loan officer at several Bay Area financial institutions including American Bank, Bridge Bank, Greater Bancorp and Bank of Santa Clara.

On the other side of the country, the $702 million Charter Oak Federal Credit Union in Groton, Conn., became an SBA lender on Jan. 31. Qualified businesses in New London and Windham counties can now apply for 7(a), 504 and Express loans.