WASHINGTON – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contains a package of loan fee reductions, higher guarantees, new Small Business Administration programs, secondary market incentives and enhancements to current SBA programs that will help unlock credit markets and begin economic recovery for the nation’s small business sector, according to information released by SBA officials Wednesday.

“The tax incentives and credit stimulus elements of the Recovery Act will truly help small business owners affected by the credit crunch, and will provide financing opportunities to help them create new jobs in their communities,” said Acting SBA Administrator Darryl K. Hairston.

“There’s a lot to digest in the legislation, and SBA has established teams to tackle a wide variety of policy decisions, system modifications, regulatory changes, legal requirements and new program launches authorized by the president and Congress,” Hairston said.

The bill provides $730 million to SBA and makes changes to the agency’s lending and investment programs so that they can reach more small businesses that need help. The funding includes:

• $375 million for temporary fee reductions or eliminations on SBA loans and increased SBA guaranteed shares, up to 90 percent for certain loans.

• $255 million for a new loan program to help small businesses meet existing debt payments.

• $30 million for expanding SBA’s Microloan program, enough to finance up to $50 million in new lending and $24 million in technical assistance grants to microlenders.

• $20 million for technology systems to streamline SBA’s lending and oversight processes.

• $15 million for expanding SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program.

• $25 million for staffing up to meet demands for new programs.

• $10 million for the Office of Inspector General.

The bill also authorizes refinancing for certain SBA loans so borrowers can expand their businesses on favorable terms, and expands leverage capability for Small Business Investment Companies.

“We are going to be part of the solution, and this bill gives us specific tools to make it easier and less expensive for small businesses to get loans, give lenders new incentives to make more loans, and help restore healthy SBA secondary markets to boost liquidity,” Hairston said, noting also that more details on implementation will be coming over the next few weeks.

To reach the Maine SBA, go to http://www.sba.gov/localresources/district/me/ or call 622-8551.


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