Unsecured Small Business Loans – Good News – Stimulus Bill Allows SBA 90 Percent Guarantee For Loans

Anyone remotely involved with small businesses, whether as a consultant, lender, supplier, leasing specialist, trade association, or simply as a consumer who is tired of driving by sections of town and wondering why your favorite business unceremoniously threw in the towel, would very much like to hear some good news. Not to mention the small business owner itself. After all, there are 27 million small businesses that deserve to be thriving in this nation, but too often were ignored by the Bush administration. Classically non-complainers by nature, they just want a scrap of hope thrown their way. And I’m not talking about wide-eyed idealists looking for handouts-in all due respect to Emily Dickinson, they’re not looking for the”thing with feathers that perches in the soul”. Just give us a few bucks and we will run with it. This is a continuing article (20 in all) on the subject: Help. Is anyone out there loaning to small businesses anymore?

Fortunately there is a loan program out there and SBA lenders are actually making loans currently: the Community Express Loan Program. This gives unsecured small business loans between $5,000 and $50,000 with very little paperwork, answers typically in two days, interest rates presently at 7.75%, funding and two weeks, and monies wired directly to your business account. There are still lenders participating in this program, although Congress has failed to make the program permanent and still has a 10% cap on the number of loans.

Enter the Obama stimulus bill. Let us look how it affects this program and small business lending as a whole.

If you have tried to wade through the 1,100 or so pages of the new stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), you know its like chipping through granite. But let me pull out a little gem. It now allows the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA to you) to guarantee up to 90% of loans made by private lenders under their program. Let me explain. This is great for Community Express.

When the Small Business Act was enacted in 1958, it had a very simple mission. Find a way to get loans to small businesses that couldn’t get them through traditional channels. It did this in an ingenious way. They knew banks where reluctant to loan to small businesses, especially startups, because of fear of failure. So the SBA collected a fee on each loan and used this as a fund to pay banks if there was a default. Bingo, there was invented the SBA guarantee fee. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard to know this gives incentives to the banks to make more loans.

SBA loan programs have guarantees from 50% to 85%. Specifically, the SBA currently has an 85% guarantee on loans up to $150,000 and up to 75% on loans above $150,000. On the other hand, there are some programs that only go as high as 50%, including the Express Loan program (for those types of loans the new guarantee will not change). With the new stimulus bill, the SBA has the right to increase these fees to 90%.

Think about this for a moment. Simple math tells us more guarantee, the greater the likelihood of the bank making the loan. For goodness sakes, 90% is tapping on the door of a 100% guarantee! Also note the guaranteed portion is typically sold on the secondary market (which has recently shut down to almost nothing) so there is more chance for loans to be sold and more money to go back into the coffers of the banks for further lending.

Notice I said the SBA has the right to increase it to 90%. It can pick which program. And it has not occurred yet. But if I was a betting person, I would say they would be seriously looking at most of the programs because everyone is scraping for ideas to revive the economy.

For those addicted to primary source documents, this is what the new statute, in relevant part (my attorney wanted me to add that) says:

SEC. 502. ECONOMIC STIMULUS LENDING PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. (a) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to permit the Small Business Administration to guarantee up to 90 percent of qualifying small business loans made by eligible lenders.
(b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section:
(1) The term ‘Administrator’ means the Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
(2) The term ‘qualifying small business loan’ means any loan to a small business concern pursuant to section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636) or title V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 695 and following) except for such loans made under section 7(a)(31).

There is also a sunset provision under Subparagraph (f) that the guarantees are only good for one year after enactment of the bill, unless extended by Congress.

So what does it do for me now as a small business owner? Well now the not so good news. I predict the SBA will be increasing many of its programs to 90%. But to get the banks in the lending mood again, there has to be a secondary market. There is also new legislation on that, which we will discuss in another article. But once we have a secondary market, I predict that they banks will not only loan, but do so in a big way. For three reasons:

First, history tells us when there is economic inactivity due primarily to depressed conditions, when the cycle changes for the better, like a sling shot affect, it changes dramatically. Remember when people were unable to refinance or purchase their homes because of tight markets and high interest rates? The rates went down and many jumped at the chance to refinance, improve their homes, and purchase (some say too precipitously) with abundance. Although this is an overstatement and also depends upon other factors such as employment, standards of living, etc., the analogy holds that when things loosen up, there will be a substantial number of business loans.

Secondly, banks are in large part in the business of making loans and they have not been doing so for some time. They will be anxious to make profits again.

Lastly, simple economics tells us when there is a vacuum in the market; capital will rush in and take advantage of that open market and initial lack of competition. Large banks are not making business loans so small community banks are starting to rush in to take over the arena. Give them a secondary market and they will explode.

So for the small business owner, I think this news of 90 % guarantees is favorable. Why did it take them so long?

Sue Malone

442 Diablo Road, Suite 137

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Small Business Loan Bailout? Stimulus Bill Pumps 730 Million Into SBA to Help Small Businesses Cope

For those small business owners who think they were ignored in the new stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), think again. While the debate continues to unravel as to “who gets what and whether it is enough”, one thing is certain: more money is coming in the direction of small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Remember, this is the agency responsible for the outreach, licensing, and implementation of, you guessed it, money into the pockets of small businesses. This is done through private licensed lenders who have agreed to join the SBA program. In other words, if your local community bank has a commercial loan department, it might very well have a SBA department which makes these loans. They are called SBA loans because the Federal government will reimburse, to a certain percentage, defaulted loans, thereby giving incentive for the private banks to loan more money. Net effect–more loans will be available for small business concerns. This is a continuing article (20 in all) on the subject: Help. Is anyone out there loaning to small businesses anymore?

Before we talk about how much more money is available to the SBA under the stimulus package, let’s look at the current status of one of the popular SBA loan programs. There is a loan program out there and SBA lenders are actually making loans currently: the Community Express Loan Program. This gives unsecured small business loans between $5,000 and $50,000 with very little paperwork, answers typically in two days, interest rates presently at 7.75%, funding and two weeks, and monies wired directly to your business account. There are still lenders participating in this program, although Congress has failed to make the program permanent and still has a 10% cap on the number of loans.
Enter the Obama stimulus bill. Let us look how it affects this program and small business lending as a whole.

So should we be excited by the stimulus package? Isn’t it all too customary in a new spending bill for a government agency to receive more funds? Not at all as to the SBA. During the Bush Administration tenure, they could easily have renamed the agency the ISBA (Ignore Small Business Association). As they were making “sound bite” statements to the press of how they were helping small business, they were arrogantly trying to dismantle it, or when they were in a better mood, just cutting the budget.

The point is we have a new administration that actually likes small businesses. Remember these are additional monies over and above the SBA’s current budget . As we all know, budgets are determined in approximately March of each year (assuming Congress has the good graces to agree) to be used for the next year. The SBA has already received their budget. This is whipped cream placed on the top of that small business cake.

And we are not talking about token amounts here. Here is how the additional monies are broken down:

1. 375 million for temporary fee reductions or elimination on SBA loans and increased SBA loan guarantees, up to 90% for some loans. Translation: When a borrower gets a SBA loan they pay a SBA loan guarantee fee which goes to Washington and used as a war chest to pay banks if there has been a default. That guarantee fee, depending upon the loan, is currently between 50% and 85%. There is a possibility that some loan programs can now be increased to a whopping 90% guarantee. If a borrower no longer pays these fees, the money has to come from somewhere, and in this case it is taxpayers’ money which is subsidizing those fees.

2. 255 million for a new loan program to help small businesses meet existing debt payments. Translation. You have a loan secured by fixed assets or real estate and want to refinance it, either to lower payments or put more money in your pockets for expansion.

3. 30 million for expanding SBA’s Micro Loan Program, with $6 million to help finance new lending and 24 million for technical assistance grants to Micro lenders. . Translation: Under the Microloan program, the Federal government loans blocks of money to the Microloan lenders who then reloan it, at higher rates, to the deserving communities and small businesses and usually collateral is required.

4. 20 million for streamlining the SBA lending and oversight process with new technology. Translation: The streamlining process will make it faster and more efficient to process loans and oversight is to monitor SBA licensed lenders–make sure they are acting for the benefit of small businesses and complying with the program guidelines.

5. 15 million for expanding SBA’s surety bond guarantee program. Translation: If you are a building contractor and have to take out a performance or payment bond on a project, you need substantial assets to secure the bond. This will help getting your hands on that needed bond and be able to secure the contract.

6. 25 million for staffing as to the new programs.

7. 20 million for the Office of Inspector General. Translation: To inspect and audit the licensed SBA lenders.

Although one could make the argument this new law is “too little too late”, we have to give our current administration a chance to do good things with this fresh money. And don’t forget the mindset of the SBA lender. Although they are not as wildly quixotic as stock market speculators, their purses open and close based upon the mood of the country. We want them to be as comfortable as possible when we walk toward them for money.

Sue Malone is a small business advocate and founder of Strategies For Small Business, a company devoted to providing SBA Loans for small business owners, which loans are currently available, whether as start-ups or for the expansion needs of existing businesses. For six years she has been the nations #1 provider of SBA Community Express Loans, having funded over 25,000 businesses in all 50 states. For a free loan consultation or for more information on the programs, visit our website at: [http://www.StrategiesForSmallBusiness.com] Or call (925) 899-8449.

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