A recent Growthink blog post titled “SBA Loans Are Growing like Gangbusters” included reference to SBA administrator Karen Mills’ statement that average weekly SBA loan approvals have gone up 86 percent since the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act became law. Similarly, an SBA fact sheet reported that “From Feb. 17, 2009 to Apr. 16, 2010, weekly SBA loan dollar volumes rose more than 90 percent in the 7(a) and 504 programs, compared to the weekly average before passage.”
These numbers give the impression that the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act has put a lot of SBA loans in the hands of America’s small business owners. But how do loan volumes compare to anything other than the nadir of a frozen small business credit market in late 2008 and early 2009?
To answer this question, I took a look at the weekly SBA loan volumes back to 2001. To take into account the effects of inflation, I measured them in real dollar terms. As you can see from the figure, SBA loans have returned to the levels of 2006 and 2007, but not quite to the levels of 2004 and 2005 from a very low level in 2009.
I leave it up to you to decide whether these numbers show huge growth in SBA loans or just a return to historical levels.