New Stimulus Package Paves Way For Increase In SBA Lending
The new stimulus package provides more than just emergency help for small businesses.
While the $ 900 billion law relaunches the paycheque protection program, it also enhances key elements of the Small Business Administration’s traditional lending efforts. This could mean a major boost for lenders and borrowers when it comes time to invest in an economic recovery, industry experts have said.
The package authorizes $ 2 billion for the SBA’s 7 (a), 504 and microcredit programs, while allowing the agency to waive borrower and lender fees, according to legislative summaries of the law. The SBA will be able to increase the standard guarantee on 7 (a) loans from 75% to 90%, keep the SBA Express loan size threshold at $ 1 million, and allow a 504 Express program to speed up approval of loans under of $ 500,000.
“We believe banks and small businesses are the winners of the second round of fiscal stimulus,” Chris Marinac, analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Remember that banks mirror the communities they serve. An improved economy should be [a] positive.”
Tightening collateral and removing fees helped spark a surge in SBA lending after the 2008-9 financial crisis, and Representative Nydia Velazquez, a Democrat from New York who chairs the House Small Business Committee, said that she expects a similar outcome in 2021. Those changes should “go a long way to help build back better,” Velazquez said in a statement Monday.
“I expect 7 (a) to grow tremendously,” said Chris Hurn, CEO of Fountainhead Capital, a non-bank lender in Lake Mary, Fla. “Small businesses need working capital.”
SBA spokeswoman Shannon Giles said on Tuesday agency officials were reviewing the text of the stimulus bill.
Bankers were happy to see other benefits included in the relief program.
The stimulus package funds several months of principal and interest repayment for most 7 (a) and 504 loans, depending on when the loans were issued, and the size and financial standing of the borrower. In all cases, the monthly payments are capped at $ 9,000.
“I was really grateful to see… the inclusion of additional payment assistance from the SBA,” said Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond, which has $ 322 million in assets, in the Oklahoma. Similar relief in the initial stimulus package “likely saved thousands of small businesses across the country,” she said.
The overall package “looks really good,” said Nimi Natan, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Small Business Lending, a $ 2.3 billion unit of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust assets in New Orleans.
“That’s what we’re asking for,” Natan said. “This is what our borrowers need.”
The lenders had pushed lawmakers and the SBA to fortify the 7 (a) program, noting that fiscal 2021 volume was down from a year earlier. Until December 18, the agency had guaranteed $ 4.6 billion in 7 (a) loans, a decrease of about 5% from that date in fiscal 2020.
Borrowers willing to apply for PPP loans, which can be canceled, have backed off from traditional SBA loans, said Rohit Arora, CEO of small business lending platform Biz2Credit. But there should be “a very big rise in SBA lending” if the economy rebounds next year, he said.
The $ 285 billion authorized for the PPP could be used up in as little as four weeks, Arora said, as Congress lifted uncertainty on areas such as the remission process and tax deductions for expenses covered by the PPP. ready.
“Businesses have been desperately waiting for this,” Arora said. “Things should be very busy after Christmas.”
Paul Davis contributed to this report.