Hector V. Barreto, who has served as administrator of the Small Business Administration since 2001, is stepping down to become national chairman of Hispanic advocacy organization The Latino Coalition.

Under Barreto's guidance, the agency doubled the number of loans made through its main SBA business loan programs. However, the agency came under fire recently from lawmakers following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for what they considered a low number of loans to affected businesses. Barreto pointed out that his agency granted $8.4 billion in loans.

In his letter of resignation to President Bush, Barreto said, "It has been a unique honor to serve as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and to help execute your vision to bring unprecedented opportunities to all entrepreneurs in every community as they seek to realize their dreams. I am proud that the agency has delivered strong results and achieved historic milestones on behalf of a vital component of our great economy, America's small businesses."Barreto will remain in his post as SBA administrator during a transition period.

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