I’m traveling to Connecticut today on business, so I had to compose this message between flights, in airports and on planes. I’ve frustrated a few flight attendants because I just HAD to finish a thought before shutting off my laptop for takeoff. I would have posted this sooner, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get a plane with in-flight wi-fi.
Anyway, there’s an EXTREMELY important bill being debated in the Senate today, and we need your help in getting it passed. It’s HR 5297, and it has important provisions that will benefit small businesses that use SBA loan programs (primarily the SBA 504 loan). As with all legislation, there are a lot of items in this bill, and sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad.
As far as I’m concerned, the most important benefit in HR 5297 is that it will enable borrowers to use the SBA 504 loan program for refinancing of existing qualified business debt. I’ve been advocating this since 2004 and I’ve written about it multiple times on this blog (here, here and here, for instance) because it’s the surest and easiest way to get capital in the hands of business owners. I’m just glad someone on Capitol Hill has finally heard my pleas (at least I’d like to think they have).
Now, the parts of this legislation that affect us are in no way like the bailout or TARP-type funds. Our program, the SBA 504 loan (aka The SmartChoice Commercial Loan) is one of the most effective (read: profitable) government loan programs around. It operates as a zero-subsidy program, and has even run a surplus which the government has used to help fund other less-profitable programs. In my opinion, creating legislation that makes this type of lending (efficient, profitable, and zero-subsidy) more available to deserving business owners is exactly the type of action we need from Congress.
Of course, this bill becoming law won’t address every problem faced by owners of small and mid-sized businesses. We still need to go further. But I see this (and I think you’ll probably agree with me) as the first true action by Congress toward helping the small business community since less than 1% of the ARRA monies were directed to this vital part of our economy. I say it’s about time they do something for Small Business instead of Big Business.
So now that you know WHAT bill HR 5297 is all about, here’s HOW you can help:
My humble request is for you to please call the Washington office of your Senator today and urge them to pass this bill. They’ll debate long into this evening, so just make sure you do it before you leave the office today. Just tell them who you are, that you support HR 5297, and (for extra brownie points) why they need to vote in support of it. Basically, if they want to improve “access to capital” (and they ought to), this bill is the way to do it.
You’ll find the Senate directory here.
The second very important thing you can do is to forward this to anyone and everyone you know who might care about the passage of bill HR 5297. We need all the support we can get, and I and everyone at Mercantile very much appreciate it.
If you have any questions or comments about this bill or anything else regarding the SBA 504 loan program, please leave a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer any questions as soon as possible.
Dedicated to Your Continued Success,