I wanted to follow up with our friends at SBA on which items, specifically, we should be aware of that are relevant to small business owners in terms of translating the stimulus package to action.
John Banks, Lead Business Development Specialist in the Philadelphia District Office, was kind enough to spend some time creating an informative email to me, outlining exactly what the American Recovery Reinvestment Act has in store to stimulate lending. John has given me permission to copy his email thoughts to this Blog. You will find them below.
90 Percent Guarantee
The bill allows SBA to raise its loan guarantee from the current levels to as much as 90 percent for some loans. At present, SBA can guarantee loans up to 85 percent on loans up to $150,000, and up to 75 percent on loans greater than $150,000. The 50 percent guarantee on SBA Express loans would remain unchanged. Increasing the SBA guarantee percentage will encourage lenders to extend more capital to small businesses by increasing the share covered by an SBA guarantee.
Business Stabilization Loans
The bill creates a new SBA loan program to provide deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 to viable small businesses that need the money to make payments on an existing, qualifying loan for up to six months. These loans will be 100 percent guaranteed by SBA. Repayment would not have to begin until 12 months after the loan is fully disbursed. The bill provides $255 million for this new program. These loans will help ensure that small businesses have time to re-focus their business plans in order to succeed in the long run.
The bill expands SBA’s Microloan program, which provides small loans (up to $35,000) paired with technical assistance to start-up, newly established or growing small businesses. The bill provides funding to increase loans from SBA to participating Microlenders by $50 million through September 30, 2010, and adds $24 million in grants to provide technical assistance to borrowers. Historically, these loans reach low-income individuals, women and minorities in both rural and urban areas. Expanding this program through the stimulus bill will help ensure these entrepreneurs are not left behind in the credit crunch.
The bill also gives SBA the power to use the 504 Certified Development Company program to refinance existing loans for fixed assets, providing fresh support for small business expansion. This change will help business owners expand their current development projects and create jobs in their communities.
Secondary Market Expansion
The bill authorizes SBA to establish a secondary market for pools of “first lien” loans under the 504 program. These “first lien” loans from commercial lenders currently have no SBA guarantee. The bill authorizes SBA to deploy federal guarantees for pools of these first lien loans, so that they can be sold to investors in a secondary market. Providing liquidity for these first mortgages will help encourage lenders to continue participating in SBA’s 504 loan program, which provides a key source of capital for community development and other projects.
The bill also empowers SBA to set up a Secondary Market Lending Authority that would make direct loans to broker-dealers that participate in the secondary market for SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loans. These broker-dealers would use the funds to purchase SBA-backed loans from commercial lenders, assemble them into pools and sell them to investors in the secondary loan market. This program may help address some of the issues facing the secondary market for SBA loans and may ultimately help SBA lenders make new loans to borrowers.
The bill helps SBA-licensed Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) and families of SBIC funds better leverage the capital they use to invest in small businesses. The bill sets maximum levels of funding the agency can provide to these companies at up to three times the private capital raised by those companies, or $150 million, whichever is less. It also raises the percentage any one SBIC can invest in a single small business to 10 percent of total capital, and raises from 20 percent to 25 percent the percentage of any licensee’s dollar investments that must be made in “smaller” businesses.
The bill also raises the maximum contract amount that can be covered by an SBA guaranteed surety bond from $2 million to $5 million, and, under certain circumstances, for contracts amounting to $10 million, and provides additional funds to cover the costs of expanding this program. Small businesses need surety bonds in order to bid on and obtain many federal and other contracts. SBA guarantees surety bonds to small businesses that private surety companies would not otherwise be able to extend.