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ICBA Calls on Congress to Pass ICBA-endorsed SBA Legislation

Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2007)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) endorses the Small Business Lending Improvement Act of 2007 (H.R. 1332) and calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass this bipartisan legislation. The bill is scheduled for a full House vote on Wednesday, April 25.

"Small businesses will gain greater access to capital using the SBA loan programs and communities will see enhanced economic activity in their local area," said James P. Ghiglieri, Jr., ICBA chairman and president of Alpha Community Bank, Toluca, Ill. "This bill will allow interested community lenders to reach a wider variety of deserving small business borrowers and geographic areas with more affordable and flexible SBA loan programs."

Beneficial reforms in the ICBA-backed legislation include:

  • 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.

ICBA commends Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), House Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Minority Member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) for moving forward with this beneficial SBA program reform legislation.

The bill includes key recommendations outlined in ICBA's testimony during a hearing of the Small Business Committee held on March 1.