SBA Drops Certain Fees For Veterans’ Small-Biz Loans

The agency said that it is eliminating upfront borrowers’ fees for veterans who receive a loan worth up to $350,000 through the SBA Express Loan Program.

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it has eliminated certain fees in an effort to simplify the process of giving small business loans to veterans.

The agency said that it is eliminating upfront borrowers’ fees for veterans who receive a loan through the SBA Express Loan Program, which includes loans worth up to $350,000.

The SBA previously announced that, during the current fiscal year, it was eliminating fees on loans for $150,000. The latest announcement boosts that threshold to $350,000 for veterans, and the change takes effect January 1 and runs through the remainder of the fiscal year.

“This will make the loans cheaper for the borrower, another way SBA is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital,” the agency said.

The SBA said the Express Loan Program is its “most popular loan delivery method” and accounts for nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans authorized during the past decade. Too, the program has been popular among veteran borrowers; of all SBA loans that go to veterans, nearly three-quarters are for $350,000 or less, the agency said.

“Our nation’s veterans are highly skilled and highly trained leaders in their communities,” Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit said in a statement. The move is part of the SBA’s broader efforts “to make sure that veterans have the tools they need to start and grow a business,” she added.

The SBA, which says it supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses during the 2013 fiscal year, announced the changes just ahead of Veteran’s day.

To see which financial institutions made the most SBA loans to all small-business borrowers in Minnesota during the latest fiscal year, click here.

In its November cover story, Twin Cities Business explored the topic of veterans in the workplace, reporting that post-9/11 veterans are a gold mine of management talent—but not all employers are recognizing that fact. The story discussed what efforts are underway to improve matters as more servicemembers return to Minnesota but pointed out that there’s significant work to be done.

A recent study that was conducted by the USAA and published by Forbes ranked Minneapolis third among the “Best Places for Veterans.” Twin Cities Business, however, questioned that list’s methodology, pointing out that it focused largely on factors that would be attractive to all residents, rather than vets specifically. For example, the list cited Minneapolis’ low overall unemployment rate. But U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Minneapolis' jobless rate for veterans was 7.3 percent in 2012—a far cry from the city's overall jobless rate of 5.4 percent at the time.