The Biden-Harris Administration has launched a series of improvements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. These alterations, effective as of August 1, are set to broaden small businesses access to capital while enhancing safeguards against fraud.
The enhancements target the SBA’s flagship 7(a) and 504 loan programs and continue Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman’s initiative to bridge capital access gaps for rural, veteran, women, and minority-owned businesses. The move is part of the administration’s commitment to uplift the small business community, providing increased opportunities for startups and existing businesses to thrive through a diverse network of lenders and simplified lending processes.
The revised lending norms extend loan accessibility by relaxing credit criteria for loans under $500,000. This enables a broader range of creditworthy small businesses to tap into SBA loans. The improvements encompass three critical areas: updated origination policies and procedures, revised lender participation requirements, and altered 7(a) loan servicing and liquidation stipulations.
In addition to these, the SBA has clarified affiliation standards to provide a more precise understanding of what constitutes a “small” business. This initiative, combined with the move to bring eligibility determination in-house through technological upgrades, will expedite the process of loan approvals. The SBA will leverage advanced data analytics and third-party data checks across all loan programs to further counteract fraud.
Recognizing the duplications and complexities in the loan authorization process, the SBA has revamped information requirements for lenders. By eradicating duplicative data entry in the Loan Authorization Wizard, the process becomes more streamlined, saving time and resources for lenders and businesses.
As part of its commitment to underserved communities, the SBA has announced permanent SBA lending for mission-oriented organizations such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). This move helps secure 7(a) loan program permanency for these lenders by transforming them into Community Advantage Small Business Lending Companies (CASBLCs).
Further cementing the changes, three updated SBA Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) took effect on August 1. These encompass the 7(a) and 504 loan programs (SOP 50 10 7), the criteria for becoming an SBA lender (SOP 50 56), and the protocols for 7(a) loan servicing and liquidation (SOP 50 57).
The SBA is also introducing the Universal Purchase Package (UPP) to make it easier for lenders to request SBA to honor its loan guarantee. It’s also planning to roll out new features in E-TRAN, the online platform lenders use to submit loan applications.
SBA has conducted extensive outreach and educational programs in anticipation of these updates. Over 13,500 individuals have attended SBA’s live training events, and on-demand training for lenders has been accessed more than 15,300 times.
Small businesses now have more opportunities than ever before to secure necessary capital, thanks to these improvements to SBA’s loan programs. With a more streamlined application process and an emphasis on inclusivity, the pathway to small business success is becoming increasingly accessible.
This article, “SBA’s Revamped Loan Programs Set to Boost Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends