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Biden-Harris Administration Extends SBA Program for Underserved Entrepreneurs

Vice President Kamala Harris, along with the SBA, announced sweeping reforms to the Community Advantage Program.

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“America’s mission-driven lenders have been a critical partner to the SBA in getting much-needed financial relief to underserved businesses throughout the COVID pandemic. Scaling the SBA’s Community Advantage pilot program will help us build on that momentum, create a broader distribution network and better ensure the opportunities of our nation’s accelerating recovery are accessible to more entrepreneurs pursuing their American dreams of starting and growing a successful business,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmán during her meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Casillas Guzmán also indicated: “The Community Advantage pilot expansion and reforms reflect the central role that President Biden and Vice President Harris have given to building equity across this Administration and removing historic inequities and barriers that have limited economic growth for all. My thanks to Vice President Harris, a longtime champion for Community Development Financial Institutions and other mission-driven lenders, for supporting this important change and helping to improve access to capital for more American entrepreneurs.”

Several reforms were announced by Casillas Guzmán and Harris after their meeting, which directly impact the Community Advantage Program (CA), a key SBA tool for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), Community Development Companies (CDC), microlenders, and other lending partners who prioritize equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities.

These are the Reforms

  1. The pilot program, which was scheduled to end in September 2022, will continue until Sept. 30, 2024, thus strengthening the Community Advantage Program.
  2. The previously established four-year moratorium on lenders will be lifted, allowing the SBA to grow this network of capital providers.
  3. The new increased number of lenders will be able to make use of government-guaranteed loans (7(a) type of the SBA), thanks to the increase in credit limits, which went from $100,000 to $350,000.
  4. Restrictions that prevented people with criminal records from accessing the Community Advantage Program were removed.
  5. Membership and guarantee requirements for borrowers and lenders will be simplified.
  6. The maximum loan amount was increased from $25,000 to $50,000.
  7. To better respond to borrowers' capital needs, additional capabilities will be introduced that will allow lenders to add revolving offerings, lines of credit, and other modifications to their portfolio that can meet investment needs.
  8. Filing fee guidelines will be redefined “to allow CDFIs, CDCs, and parallel mission lenders participating in the Community Advantage Program to scale up and increase volume to underserved communities.”

About the Community Advantage Pilot Program

Designed to meet the lending, management and technical assistance needs of small businesses in underserved markets, this program was created during the Obama-Biden Administration to provide mission-oriented lenders, primarily nonprofit financial intermediaries focused on economic development, access to 7(a) loan guarantees that were previously only for loans of $250.000 or less.

“Community Advantage continues to be the best avenue to allow mission-driven lenders to access SBA 7(a) loans,” they pointed out.

CA Objectives

  • Increase access to credit for small businesses located in underserved areas.
  • Expand access points to the SBA 7(a) loan program, allowing non-traditional lenders to participate.
  • Provide administration and technical assistance to small businesses.

Learn more about the Community Advantage Programs by clicking here.

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