The House Small Business Committee heard testimony from small business owners about their ability to obtain SBA-backed financing.

Jim Brunberg, owner of Mississippi Studios in Portland, Ore., an 18-employee operation, talked about the problems he experienced when he expanded his concert venue last year just as the economy soured. Access to the Small Business Administration’s new ARC loans came in the nick of time. “The loan funded quickly and literally kept our doors open for the summer, kept my workers employed, and kept our business open as a magnet to the economically redeveloping neighborhood,” he said.

Harry DeWolf, director of the Portland SBA Office, testified about the success of the SBA’s programs in his district. He noted that to date, the SBA has guaranteed 632 SBA loans valued at $143 million in the Portland District. Over 50 percent of the loans went to veterans, women, and minority small business owners, while 22 percent went to rural communities.

“Thanks to the funding and program changes provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the SBA has been working to unlock the small business lending market and get much needed capital flowing again to America’s small businesses,” he said.

Nationally, he pointed out, weekly volume of SBA-guaranteed loans has increased more than 45 percent, compared to the weeks preceding the Recovery Act. As of July 17, the SBA has supported $7.4 billion in small business lending, with the approval of $5.4 billion in loans since Feb. 17. Lenders are also returning to the fold. From Feb. 17 to July 17, more than 750 lenders that had not made a loan since Oct. 2008 made SBA 7(a) loans. Of those, more than half had not made a loan since at least 2007. As of July 22, SBA had approved more than 700 ARC loans totaling $22.8 million, and weekly loan approvals have been increasing consistently.

However, another small business owner, Sheryl Southwell, president of Specialty Polymers in Woodburn, Ore., was more skeptical about the SBA’s efforts. “I know may small business owners, myself included, feel that the bailouts and the stimulus plan have passed them by,” she said. “There was nothing in these plans to support small businesses. If we are going to work our way out of this recession, small business has to be healthy. And there needs to be a clear understanding that small businesses come in all shapes and sizes. The SBA needs to be able to provide solutions for the bigger small businesses.”

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access