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ICBA Applauds Congress for Passage of Small Business Improvement Measure

Washington, D.C. (April 25, 2007)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauds Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Minority Member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) for advancing the ICBA-endorsed Small Business Lending Improvement Act of 2007 (H.R. 1332) and thanks Congress for its quick passage of the measure.

"These important reforms will help create needed flexibility in the Small Business Administration loan programs to better serve the needs of various types of small business borrowers and lenders," said James P. Ghiglieri, Jr., ICBA chairman and president of Alpha Community Bank, Toluca, Ill. "Community bankers nationwide successfully use the SBA loan programs to help finance many small businesses that otherwise would not have access to affordable long-term capital. ICBA greatly appreciates this effort to help our nation's small businesses."

The bill includes key ICBA recommendations, including:

  • Establishing a 7(a) rural lender outreach program with an 85 percent guarantee for loans up to $250,000;
  • Supporting combined 7(a) and 504 financing;
  • Allowing borrower and lender fees to be reduced commensurate with an appropriation;
  • Supporting greater regional SBA office resources for non-PLP lenders;
  • Extending the alternative small business size standards currently available under the 504 program to the 7(a) program;
  • Making permanent the Community Express Program.

Legislative action on this measure now moves to the U.S. Senate where Small Business Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Ranking Minority Member Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are advancing a similar bill. ICBA will continue to work with Congress until this valuable measure becomes law.