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SBA: Barreto Praises House Passage of 7(a) Legislation Increased Lending Authority to Support As Many As 500,000 Jobs
3/31/2004

Contact:
Doug Heye (202) 205-7990
Sue Hensley (202) 205-6444
Internet Address:
http://www.sba.gov/news/indexheadline.html

WASHINGTON – SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto praised the House of Representatives today for approving legislation that will increase the SBA 7(a) loan program’s lending authority by more than $3 billion, lift the current $750,000 cap on 7(a) loans, and ensure continuing operations for other key SBA programs. The bill, HR 4062, passed today by unanimous consent.

“I am pleased that the House acted today to pass legislation that will benefit thousands of small businesses across America,” Barreto said. “This bill will help create a bigger, better 7(a) program. By increasing the 7(a) program’s lending authority, the SBA will be able to guarantee an additional 30,000 loans this year alone – loans which will create or retain half a million jobs for hard working Americans.”

“I would like to thank Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader DeLay, Chairman Manzullo, and Ranking Member Velazquez,” Barreto added. “The cooperation they exhibited today shows how we can accomplish great things for America’s small businesses when we work together.”

The legislation now moves to the Senate for action.

The new bill will increase the 7(a) program’s lending authority for this year by up to a third, to $12.7 billion. The $750,000 cap will be returned to the $2 million level. Lenders also will have the option to make SBA Express loans of up to $2 million. Piggyback loans will once again be allowed, and for the first time the SBA will issue specific guidelines on piggyback loans that will allow them to become a consistent part of the loan program.

The legislation reauthorizes the 504 loan program and the Small Business Investment Company program through the end of the fiscal year. The bill also guarantees that several other SBA programs will remain in continual service through the end of the June. The SBA’s Small Disadvantaged Business and Preferred Surety Bond programs would both expire at the end of the week without congressional action.

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For more information about SBA’s programs for small businesses, visit the SBA’s extensive Web site at www.sba.gov. The SBA, in co-sponsorship with Staples, has introduced an online newsletter SBA Solutions. For a free subscription, go to http://web.sba.gov/list and select New SBA Solutions Newsletter.


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