SBA loans provide stimulus for small businesses

    Contrary to many reports, banks are lending to qualified small businesses. Many business owners are obtaining the capital they need to fund operations through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, which are designed to provide eligible businesses with competitive financing alternatives to conventional loan terms.

    All types of businesses, ranging from well-established companies to startup ventures, are qualifying for assistance through the SBA. Most importantly, the SBA is open for business and fully funded.

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included specific SBA provisions geared toward ensuring access to capital for small businesses.

    These provisions have been instrumental in keeping credit flowing during a time when conventional sources of credit have deteriorated. Specifically, Section 501 of the Recovery Act provided for “waiver” (payment by U.S. Treasury) of the one-time, up-front borrower loan guaranty fee.

    This temporary benefit, currently scheduled to expire on May 31, has saved more than 550 Associated Bank SBA borrowers in excess of $1 million since Feb. 17, 2009. This singular benefit of the Recovery Act has allowed businesses to retain a substantial amount of working capital that is then available for redeployment within the enterprise.

    Keeping credit flowing is critical to local companies for retaining and creating jobs, purchasing goods and services, and paying federal, state and local taxes. I’m pleased to report that Associated Bank’s SBA borrowers have self-reported that our SBA lending efforts have created and retained more than 4,000 jobs between February 2009 and April 2010.

    President Barack Obama has proclaimed May 23 – 29 as National Small Business Week, recognizing the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America who contribute to the strength of the economy.
    The SBA is an important resource in helping small businesses to innovate and grow. I encourage interested business owners to contact their local participating SBA lender to learn more about how an SBA financing solution might address their specific credit needs.


    Jeffrey Sheffler is vice president and government guaranteed lending program manager at Green Bay-based Associated Bank N.A.

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