Loans totaling $215,000 were approved for four area businesses as part of a growing effort by the District to retain existing jobs and attract new ones, the D.C. government announced yesterday.

Separately, the federal government freed $375,000 for such business loans in the current fiscal year, and Mayor Marion Barry Jr. ordered a study during the next three months of problems faced by Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs.

The business loans, announced by D.C.'s economic development director, Lawrence Schumake, range from $10,000 to $80,000 and will retain or add about 140 jobs as well as expanded tax revenues and business services. The revolving loan fund from which the advances were made was developed earlier this year.

Loans approved yesterday will aid:

Action Property Management Inc., a minority-owned firm at 3401 Georgia Ave. NW, which will continue and expand energy audits and weatherization services for houses of low-income D.C. residents. Action Property got a loan of $80,000 and will add five new jobs.

Capitol City Glass, a 27-year old firm at 1029 New Jersey Ave. NW, which received $75,000 to expand its inventory and enable it to take on larger jobs. The firm employs 23 persons.

D'Hani & Co., 143 Kennedy St. NW, to enable the janitorial and maintenance business founded by a D.C. woman in 1978 to expand and accept a District contract for maintenance of city properties. D'Hani got a $50,000 loan and employs 100 D.C. residents.

Environs Design Group, an interior decorating firm that plans to move to 905 N St. NW from Northern Virginia, and which plans to operate a furnishings showroom in the Logan Circle area. The move adds seven full-time and five part-time jobs, aided by a $10,000 loan.

Each of the loans were made at below-market interest rates of 12 percent at a time when the prime business lending rate of commercial banks is 17 percent. The loans vary from three months to two years. An initial loan under the program was $100,000 to enable a minority-owned supermarket chain, Community Foods Inc. of Baltimore, to open a Super Pride store in Northeast Washington last June, providing 40 jobs.

The revolving loan fund is designed for creditworthy businesses that cannot get private bank loans and which are in line with D.C. community- and job-development goals. When the loans are paid, the funds can be made available to other businesses.

For the current fiscal year, the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration has approved the use of $375,000 in remaining loan funds, Schumake said. To date, city economic development activities have relied on federal grants and loans because Congress has vetoed D.C. budgets for such programs.