Proposed SBA Expansion Into Direct Lending Irks Banks, Credit Unions

American Banker
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Banks and credit unions oppose federal proposals to let the Small Business Administration make some 7(a) loans directly in addition to its traditional role of guaranteeing credits extended by private lenders. The Biden administration's $3.5 trillion spending package would give the SBA nearly $4.5 billion to make 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less directly to borrowers. The cap for direct loans to manufacturers would be $1 million. Legislation approved by the House Small Business Committee last week included an option for the SBA to originate small 7(a) loans "through partnerships with third parties" — which presumably could include some banks and credit unions. At the same time, the bill would authorize SBA "to originate and disburse direct loans." With details still in short supply, Ian McKendry, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, said in a statement that his group "want[s] to better understand why it makes sense to create a direct lending program to compete with banks that are already meeting demand for 7(a) loans." “It could have the unintended effect of making it more difficult for some lenders to continue participation in the 7(a) program,” McKendry said.