Philadelphia-area banks are receiving $1.27 billion under the Treasury Department's investment program designed to spur lending in the midst of the nation's most dangerous financial and economic downturn in decades.

Among the latest to be approved was Parke Bancorp Inc., of Sewell, N.J., which will receive $16.29 million for preferred shares, Vito S. Pantilione, Parke's chief executive, said yesterday.

"Without it, I told the FDIC, our bank's growth would be flat, and we would stick to monitoring our existing loan portfolio because we don't know how deep this recession is going to be," Pantilione said. "With it, we are able to continue making new loans."

The total for the region under the Treasury's Capital Purchase Program is likely to rise as more banks receive approval under the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which was passed in October to buy troubled assets from banks but has been used instead to make the federal government a significant investor in banks themselves.

Harleysville National Corp. applied for $120 million in Treasury funds but has not said whether its application was approved. Others that applied include Sun National Bancorp Inc., TF Financial Corp., and Republic First Bancorp Inc.

Several local publicly traded banks chose not to apply. They include Beneficial Mutual Bancorp Inc., Univest Corp. of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr Bank Corp., of Bryn Mawr, and Abington Bancorp Inc., of Jenkintown.

The $1.27 billion does not include billions more invested in banks with major operations here but headquarters elsewhere.

For example, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., of Pittsburgh, is in line to receive $7.7 billion in conjunction with its pending takeover of Cleveland rival National City Corp. Wells Fargo Corp., of San Francisco, which is buying Wachovia Corp., received $25 billion.

While banks have been roundly criticized in Congress for hoarding the taxpayer-funded investments, the chief executive of Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. said the Lititz, Pa., bank had already put some of its $300 million to work as the lead lender in a $47.6 million bridge loan that helped pull Boscov's out of bankruptcy.

"We continue to look real strong at doing transactions," William J. Reuter, Susquehanna's chairman and CEO, said last week.

Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.