13 May 2008

SBA’s Patriot Express Loan Offers Significant Small Business Ownership Opportunities for Nation’s Military Spouses

As the nation celebrates National Military Spouse Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration reminds military families that the Patriot Express loan initiative is up and running and available to help them start or build a small business.

In the ten months since its launch, Patriot Express has produced 1,304 guaranteed loans amounting to more than $135 million, with an average loan amount of nearly $104,000. Nearly 15 percent of those loans have gone to military spouses.

Patriot Express is available to military community members including veterans, service-disabled veterans, service members leaving active duty, Reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, spouses of active duty members, and the widowed spouse of a service member who died during service, or of a service-connected disability.

Every year since Ronald Reagan first proclaimed Military Spouse Day in 1984, we pay special tribute to the husbands and wives who support their spouses in America’s Armed Forces,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Patriot Express is helping America’s military spouses, and many others in our military community, start or expand their small business. We are proud to be able to serve those who have given so much to our country.”

The Patriot Express initiative builds on the more than $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-owned businesses, and the counseling assistance and procurement support it provides each year to more than 100,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and Reserve members.

Patriot Express is a streamlined loan product based on the agency’s highly successful SBA Express Program, but with enhanced guaranty and interest rate characteristics.

Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA’s maximum guaranty of up to 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less and up to 75 percent for loans over $150,000 up to $500,000. For loans above $350,000, lenders are required to secure all available collateral to back the loan and may obtain collateral for smaller loans depending upon individual bank requirements.

Interest rate maximums for Patriot Express loans are the same as those for regular 7(a) loans: a maximum of Prime + 2.25 percent for maturities under seven years; Prime + 2.75 percent for seven years or more. Interest rates can be higher by two percent for loans of $25,000 or less; and one percent for loans between $25,000 and $50,000.

The Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative can be used for most business purposes. Details on the initiative can be found at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.

Patriot Express loans have been approved in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam and currently range from $5,000 to $375,000 in individual loan amounts. After loan applications are approved by the bank, they are submitted to SBA for approval. Most applications are approved by SBA within 24 hours.

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