OpED: Committed to Building a Strong Economy with Small Businesses

Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups bolster the small business and U.S. economy. Courtesy Image for illustration purposes
Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups bolster the small business and U.S. economy. Courtesy Image for illustration purposes
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Texas Border Business

By Ted James, Region 6 Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s partnership with lenders across our country to deliver our flagship 7(a) loans has often been hailed as the most successful public-private partnerships ever instituted by the federal government.

The public policy goal of the 7(a) business loan program is to provide credit to small businesses that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through conventional channels. Private-sector lenders make 7(a) loans to small businesses that are partially guaranteed by the SBA in case of default to these small businesses. More small businesses are afforded an opportunity for success beyond typical financing options and the partnership also allows lenders to loan a greater amount of their assets.

Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups bolster the small business and U.S. economy. Even during the unprecedented pandemic through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA,) the SBA and lenders contributed to a record level of small business startups. Through the ARPA and the equitable implementation of emergency relief programs, the Biden-Harris Administration fostered an historic recovery for Main Street, small manufacturers, and startups with 7.8 million new business applications since January 2021 alone — 20 percent higher than any previous 18-month period on record.

Now, lenders and American small businesses can leverage the SBAs’ many programs to support these new entrepreneurs and further build upon success. To ensure capital is available, the SBA is studying ways to change 7(a) program loans with new rules, technologies and processes to make the 7(a) lending program easier to understand, easier to use and more appealing to both lenders and borrowers.

The SBA wants to propel the country’s record level of small business startups from stability to success and after attending the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders conference recently, I am convinced our participating SBA lenders are ready help small businesses reach that goal.

Knowing which lenders are ready to cross this new frontier is key to small businesses looking for capital. To help business owners find these lenders, the Lower Rio Grande Valley District office released the following statistics for their top five 7(a) program lenders in the last fiscal 2022 year:

  1. Wells Fargo, N.A. loaned $1,544,600 to 23 small businesses.
  2. Greater State Bank loaned $2,159,300 to eight small businesses.
  3. Lone Star National Bank loaned $2,263,000 to seven small businesses.
  4. Plains Capital loaned $5,451,700 to three small businesses.
  5. Pnc Bank, N.A. loaned 2,169,400 to three small businesses.

Reopening and revitalizing our communities and our economy will be an enormous task. We are confident that our lending community up to it. If one of the lenders mentioned here cannot finance you, the SBA also offers a nationwide lender sourcing service online  called Lender Match at www.sba.gov/lendermatch where businesses can explain their project and request a loan from thousands of lenders who work with the SBA.

Stay tuned to learn how the SBA is making funding the American Dream more streamlined and easier for both lenders and borrowers to meet the needs of today’s entrepreneurs and our communities.You can access the biography for Ted James, Region 6 Administrator of the U.S. Small Business 

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