The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it is streamlining loan packages to require less paperwork. Today most loan packages received by the SBA from lenders are incomplete and require rework, and the SBA’s reforms intend to improve this. The SBA commits to responding with a decision within 45 days of receiving loan packages that are complete.
The SBA also is launching or enhancing loan programs to reach out to specific underserved communities and groups, including rural, veteran and minority business owners. It continues to extend the Express loan program which is itself a streamlined loan program.
A few months ago I interviewed SBA Administrator Steve Preston on Small Business Trends radio. He comes from the private sector. He impressed me with his focus on making the SBA goal-oriented and more responsive to small businesses and the public.
During the interview I remember thinking what a challenge it must be to try to reform a monolithic organization like a Federal agency — especially when you are used to private business where the chief executive can make things move faster.
Moving a governmental agency must be the equivalent of turning a supertanker. Yet, the SBA has managed to double the number of loans processed annually compared to five years ago. And the SBA has improved its Web outreach considerably over the past year. Its website now has easier-to-use tools and resources.
The SBA has taken political heat during its history — the issues may change, but there’s always some hot potato. However, all things considered, we are better off for having an agency that reports to the President supporting the nation’s small businesses. Along with a free enterprise system, our SBA is one of the reasons that entrepreneurship has flourished in the United States.
See the SBA press release for more on the reforms.