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Senators Shaheen, Coons Introduce Legislation to Ensure Access to Capital for Small Businesses

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Chris Coons (D-DE), members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, introduced legislation to ensure that American small businesses have continuous access to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 loan program, which provides low-cost, fixed-rate, long-term loans for small businesses. The 504 Loan Availability Act will prevent the 504 loan program from becoming temporarily unavailable near the end of the fiscal year, ensuring that small businesses can invest in themselves and grow all year round. 

“The 504 loan program is one of the premier tools available for small businesses to access capital to invest in and expand operations,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ve long fought for increased flexibility for this program, including allowing borrowers to refinance existing 504 loans. This simple fix will prevent disruptions in these loans to help ensure these critical programs remain available to small businesses for years to come, under all market conditions.”

“Delaware’s small businesses drive the First State’s economy, and when they have reliable access to capital to grow their operations, they create good-paying jobs and expand production and manufacturing in America,” said Senator Coons. “I’m proud to partner with Senator Shaheen to ensure that there are no further interruptions to the 504 program. Business owners nationwide deserve confidence in this reliable source of affordable financing and the opportunity to leverage these loans to grow and succeed.”

The 504 Loan Availability Act combines the authorization of regular 504 loans and 504 refinancing loans under a single authorization cap. Combining these authorizations will help prevent either program from hitting its cap partway through the fiscal year and becoming temporarily unavailable until the new fiscal year begins, even without raising the program’s overall authorization levels.

The SBA 504 Loan program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing for small businesses investing in major assets that promote business growth and job creation. 504 loans are available through Certified Development Companies (CDCs), the SBA's community-based partners dedicated to promoting economic development in their communities. Loan amounts are generally capped at $5.5 million, and may be repaid over 10-, 20-, or 25-year maturity terms.

“Senators Coons and Shaheen have consistently been forward-thinking leaders for small businesses and ensuring they have access to low-cost capital through programs like the SBA’s 504 loan program. The program’s value is easily seen both in its over $100 billion in financings and how it supports local economies with job creation and retention. The 504 Loan Availability Act safeguards the availability of the SBA’s premier economic development program and creates certainty for access by the nation’s small business community now and in the future,” said Rhonda Pointon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies. 

“The 504 Loan Availability Act supports and strengthens the SBA’s preeminent economic development product, the SBA 504 Program. With weakening economic conditions, higher cost of capital and inflationary pressures, it is more important than ever to bolster this program to support America’s small businesses. The 504 Program encourages banks to lend, unlocks capital for growing small businesses, and creates jobs in our communities. We at Pursuit enthusiastically support the 504 Loan Availability Act, and we thank Senator Coons and Senator Shaheen for their leadership on this issue,” said Jim Conroy, President of Pursuit CDC.

“The 504 Loan Availability Act will have a tremendous impact on small businesses in New Hampshire and across the country. It will provide access to capital,which in turn will enable small business to expand and create new jobs. We all want to thank Senator Shaheen and Senator Coons for their diligent work supporting small businesses,” said Steve Aldrich, PresidentandCEO of Granite State Development Corporation.

As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and as a former small business owner, Senator Shaheen is a fierce advocate for New Hampshire’s small business community. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaheen went to bat for small business owners who were among the most severely impacted by the public health crisis. She worked to provide small businesses with the resources they needed to weather and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both of which were lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country. Last year, President Biden signed into law a Shaheen-led bill to require the SBA to create a centralized website that houses compliance guides pertaining to federal regulations impacting small businesses.