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THE HERALD BUSINESS JOURNAL    EVERETT, WASHINGTON

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Calvin Goings

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Jim Davis, Editor
jdavis@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012

SBA gets money into the hands of small business

For two years in a row, the U.S. Small Business Administration has helped to put more than $30 billion into the hands of small business owners across the country. In Fiscal Year 2012, the SBA loan programs posted the second largest dollar volume ever, surpassed only by the dollar volume in FY 2011, which was heavily boosted by the loan incentives under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

The pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the national economy and the credit markets, and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans.

Right here in Washington, the Seattle District Office supported 1,430 loans for more than $637 million.

Over the past year, SBA began streamlining and simplifying many of the loan programs to provide more access and opportunity for both lenders and small businesses. As part of this effort, SBA encouraged lenders to use more of their own paperwork and the agency’s updated processing systems, so that more than 80 percent of its loan applications can now be processed online.

These efforts, along with other loan enhancements, have resulted in nearly 1,300 lenders returning to SBA lending and have opened up more points of capital access for small businesses wherever they do business. And, we have the results to prove it.

By simply improving the loan-making process and reducing paperwork, we saw a record year for the Certified Development Company (504) loan program, which helped 9,471 entrepreneurs supporting $15.09 billion in small business lending.

A revamped CAPLines program, which provides working lines of credit to small businesses such as manufacturers and government contractors, jumped 400 percent from 108 loans and $118 million in FY 2011, to 532 loans and $410 million in FY 2012.

Lenders are making more low-dollar loans using the Advantage loan programs: Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage (SLA). These programs encourage lenders to make low-dollar loans, which are an important tool for small businesses. The number of Community Advantage loans increased more than 11 fold from FY 2011 to FY 2012. The Small Loan Advantage ended the fiscal year with 820 loans for $105.6 million. And, nearly 80 percent of the year’s SLA loans came after SBA simplified the loan process on June 1.

The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) debenture program provided a record $2.95 billion to small businesses in FY 2012, a 14 percent increase over the previous year and the highest single-year volume in the 54-year history of the program. This good news is due in part to a number of improvements that contributed to an increased number of new SBIC licenses and reduced license processing times.

As we look forward to 2013, SBA stands ready to help you start, grow or expand your business. We’re ready to put money in your hands. For more information about our loan programs, go to www.sba.gov.

Calvin Goings is regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.