SBA Breaking Barriers with New Rule Easing Restrictions on Criminal History

January 31, 2024

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman announced a new SBA rule change that would improve entrepreneurship opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals who served their sentence, including those on parole and probation. Administrator Guzman was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Steven Horsford when making this announcement.

The “Ban the Box” initiative would remove most restrictions on loan programs based on an applicant’s criminal record. The rule will also ban the box on SBA loan applications “to stop the chilling effect that criminal history questions have.”

“The CBC applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to expand access to federal small business contracts to individuals who have been impacted by our criminal justice system. For too long outdated policies have cut off access to capital in underserved communities, particularly Black communities,” says CBC Chairman Steven Horsford. “Today’s announcement reflects our shared commitment to supporting Black-owned small business owners and expanding access to capital to Black and underserved communities. By finally banning the box on SBA loan applications, we are not just changing policy; we are eliminating unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship, boosting our economy, creating well-paying jobs, and generating Black wealth.” 

Congressional Black Caucus Press Release