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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Urges SBA Reforms During Senate Small Business Roundtable

Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2007)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) participated in a Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship roundtable held in connection with introduction of The Small Business Lending Reauthorization and Improvements Act of 2007, S.1256, a measure to reauthorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs.

ICBA called for much-needed SBA program reforms to be included in the Senate bill including provisions to:

  • Allow for the scaling back of sharp SBA fee increases on lenders and borrowers should Congress appropriate funds.

  • Reinstate a streamlined SBA Section 7(a) program to boost rural community lending with an 85 percent guarantee for loans up to $250,000 to better serve the needs of small business borrowers.

  • Support $19 billion in Section 7(a) lending authority and $9 billion in Section 504 lending authority, up from the stagnant $17.5 billion and $7.5 billion proposed in the fiscal year 2008 budget.

  • Apply additional SBA budget resources to better staff and support regional SBA offices to serve the thousands of community lenders available to deliver SBA loans to deserving small businesses nationwide.

ICBA praised Small Business Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and committee member Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) for their attention and commitment to the needs of community bank lenders and small business borrowers as they advance the Senate SBA reauthorization bill.

“The SBA loan programs must be diverse enough to meet the needs of a variety of lenders and borrowers if they are to serve many geographic areas of the country,” said Paul Merski, ICBA chief economist, who participated in the Senate-sponsored roundtable. “There are 9,000-plus lending institutions across America. Any SBA program where the top 10 lenders make nearly 70 percent of the loans calls for more Congressional attention to loan program diversity.”