The U.S. Small Business Administration announced yesterday that it has re-opened its 7(a) loan program.
Last week the SBA had abruptly suspended its main loan program — with no advance warning. All due to lack of funds as a result of Congress not passing a budget before leaving on winter break.
The re-opening is only temporary. It is based on short-term funding resolutions passed by Congress pending approval of a full 2004 budget.
The re-opening came only after the SBA was publicly chastised by U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship . She pointed to an “institutional breakdown in communications at the SBA. That, in turn, led to its failure to properly alert Congress of the funding shortfall, which left thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs abandoned by the federal government.”
The heat continues, however, over the SBA’s other unprecedented move, in which it limited the maximum size of 7(a) loans to $750,000. Not only has this abrupt decision incurred the ire of Senator Snowe, but it also brought outcries from George Herrera, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He says he is “outraged” at the action that detrimentally affects the 1.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.