Senate Passes ABA-Backed SBA 7(a) Reform Bill

By a voice vote, the Senate today passed H.R. 4743, a bipartisan bill that will strengthen the Small Business Administration’s oversight of its loan programs and increase its maximum lending authority. Championed in the Senate by introduced by Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and in the House by Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), the bill passed the House last month and now heads to the White House for the president’s signature.

The bill would strengthen the SBA’s office of credit risk management; enhance the SBA’s lender oversight review process; require SBA to detail its oversight budget and perform a full annual risk analysis of the program; and clarify factors that must be considered under the “credit elsewhere” test that lenders perform before applying for 7(a) financing. The American Bankers Association applauded the vote, noting that the bill would help ensure the strength of the program into the future.

“The SBA programs are an important part of business lending for many banks,” ABA said in a letter to House members last month. “They help fill a critical gap, particularly for early-stage businesses that need access to longer-term loans. The guarantee helps reduce the risk and capital required for banks and facilitates loans that might never have been made without this important level of support. ABA has long supported this successful public-private partnership and is pleased that Congress recognizes the importance of this program.”