There has been complaining around the nation from small businesses and banks that the Small Business Association’s effort to boost loans for small business has been a turkey of a program: not enough money allocated and too many paperwork hoops to jump through. Well, they can stop complaining. Because the money has run out. The SBA announced recently that the $375 million that Congress shelled out for the program has all been spent. The money went to pay fees normally charged by banks when they make a small-business loan and to guarantee that any loans defaulted on would be paid (up to 90 percent) by the SBA. If you own a small business and you would still like to apply for an SBA-backed loan, you can still do so. But you’ll have to hope that the SBA is successful in convincing Congress to reload the program with more stimulus cash.
Who’s lending? Check this list to see which banks in your neighborhood have made SBA-endorsed loans (and how many).
Or just call Warren Buffet. Uncle Warren announced he’ll be co-chairing the advisory council of the 10,000 Small Businesses effort, along with luminaries Michael Porter (chief of the institute for strategy and competitiveness at Harvard Business School) and Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs). Blankfein’s firm is kicking in the $500 million the program will hand out. Around $200 million will fund training programs for small business owners at universities and community colleges around the United States, while $300 million will be handed out to Department of the Treasury–certified community development financial institutions, which include credit unions, banks, and investment funds that serve primarily low-income and minority customers.
Sounds pretty generous, until you remember that Goldman has set aside almost $17 billion for bonuses so far this year. So maybe the $500 million is just a way to suppress all the bad press Goldman has been getting. Or maybe the company truly does feel a little ashamed. Said Blankfein in a speech recently: “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize.” (In other news: The Goldman bonuses will go ahead as scheduled.)