Measure will expand access to capital for small businesses

November 24, 2009

(Washington, DC)- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has introduced legislation that will expand access to capital for small business owners by increasing the maximum value of individual loans in the Small Business Administration (SBA) Express loan program, which are used more frequently by New Hampshire banks. The Shaheen legislation (S. 2808) calls for in increasing the maximum value of Express loans to $1 million and increasing the guarantee to 75 percent for two years.

"Small businesses create jobs and stimulate local economies, and providing business owners with access to capital will help them get through the recession," said Shaheen. "In New Hampshire, small businesses are the main driver of the economy, and we must give them the help they need so they can keep their doors open, hire more employees and grow their businesses in the very difficult economic environment."

In New Hampshire, lenders issue Express loans more frequently than traditional 7(a) loans. However, the maximum value of an Express loan is $350,000 with a 50% guarantee from the SBA. In an effort to increase access to capital, Shaheen's legislation calls for increasing the Express cap to $1 million and temporarily increasing the guarantee to 75 percent for two years.

"The current economic climate makes it difficult for many small businesses to qualify for bank financing without some sort of credit enhancement.  The SBA Express loan and guarantee limit increases proposed by Senator Shaheen will help more businesses across the country secure the funding they need to create or preserve jobs and get our economy back on track," said Gerald Little, President of the New Hampshire Bankers Association.

"I believe that the proposed legislation by Senator Shaheen is a very positive and supportive step to increase the availability of credit from lenders to the small business community.  Small business drives our economy and will be the engine that leads our country out of this recession.  The flow of capital to these businesses is a critical component to both their growth and long-term health, and Senator Shaheen's proposed legislation will allow banks to more readily respond to these capital needs," said David Cassidy, Executive Vice President of Centrix Bank.

In her first year in the U.S. Senate, Senator Shaheen, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has focused heavily on small business issues.  She persuaded the SBA to make loan guarantees available to 70,000 additional businesses; voted to allow small businesses to use fiscal year 2008 losses to offset profits made during the previous five years, enabling businesses hit the hardest to obtain substantial tax refunds; cosponsored legislation passed by the Senate to reauthorize and strengthen the Small Business Innovation Research  (SBIR)and Small Business Technology Transfer programs; and cosponsored several pieces of legislation that would increase the availability of credit and help small business tap into overseas markets. Shaheen has also established a Small Business Advisory Council, which is made up of small business owners from across the state.

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