January 21, 2013
by CATHERINE CLIFFORD
With the current uncertainty in Washington, D.C., what’s in store for the Small Business Administration this year is a mostly hazy forecast. We asked some SBA watchers to share their views on what they expect to happen at the agency in the coming 12 months. Here’s what they said.
The Big Issues
Access to capital. One of the SBA’s most important mandates is its responsibility to facilitate the distribution of capital to the nation’s small businesses. It does this through a number of programs which serve as a virtual backstop for a bank’s loan program. In the SBA’s 2012 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, it supported loans to 44,377 small businesses for a total of $30.25 billion, down from the record 61,689 loans to small businesses made in the 2011 fiscal year for a total of $30.5 billion. The 2011 record year was due to a slew of stimulus efforts that both increased the percentage of the loan that was backstopped by the SBA and reduced the fees associated with the loans, making them more attractive to both banks and small businesses.
The SBA is expected to back as many loans in 2013 as it did in 2012, but not quite as much as it did in the record-breaking year of 2011, predicts Rohit Aurora, the president and CEO of Biz2Credit, an online marketplace that pairs small and midsize businesses with lenders. The 2011 record-breaking year was supported “heavily boosted” by the loan incentives offered under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, but according to a SBA spokeswoman, lending at the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 was ahead of the pace at the same time a year ago.