February 14, 2003
ICBA Wins Budget Fight to Boost Popular 7(a) Loan Funding
ICBA has battled Congress' budget appropriators to provide adequate resources for the popular 7(a) guaranteed lending programs since they were roughly slashed in half by last year's federal budget. Despite a protracted budget battle that had spanned over two fiscal years, the good news for our SBA lenders is that the new appropriations for fiscal year 2003, combined with passage of an additional special bill to improve how the cost of the program is calculated, should allow more than $8.2 billion in regular 7(a) lending, up from the skimpy $4.5 billion previously earmarked. Additionally, SBA is indicating that some $1.7 billion in monies already authorized for another SBA program could be levered to further increase 7(a) loans. We will pursue this. As soon as this legislation is signed into law, ICBA will again press the SBA to remove the $500,000 cap on 7(a) loans that was hastily (and it was stated temporarily) instituted under the smaller funding authority. We will urge restoring the allowable loan size back to $2 million with a $1 million guarantee.