26 August 2008

SBA’s Deputy Administrator Carranza Promotes Patriot Express Loans to Legion Vets

U.S. Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza, today urged veterans to take full advantage of SBA’s Patriot Express loans and other federal programs and services if they are planning to start or grow a small business.

Speaking to veterans attending the National Veterans Business Workshop at the American Legion National Convention, in Phoenix, Ariz., Carranza highlighted the benefits of SBA’s Patriot Express Loans and other SBA programs.

Designed to encourage members of the military who want to start or grow small businesses, SBA’s Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative started a little over a year ago. The initiative continues to successfully help veterans and their spouses reach their dreams of small business ownership and expansion. To date SBA has approved 2,169 loan guarantees for $203 million at an average loan amount of nearly $94,000.

“I’m proud of the many important ways that the SBA helps our military veterans succeed in their business endeavors,” said Carranza. “Through Patriot Express, other lending programs, government contracting, and education and training, we offer a full range of business services to our veterans.”

Patriot Express, launched in 2007, builds on the more than $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-owned businesses, and the counseling assistance and procurement support the agency provides each year to more than 100,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans, and Guard 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. The Patriot Express loan is offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features SBA’s fastest turnaround time for loan approvals. 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 take all available collateral.

Patriot Express loans can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases.
Local SBA district offices have a listing of Patriot Express lenders in their areas. Details on the initiative can be found at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.

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 percentage points for loans of $25,000 or less; and one percentage point for loans between $25,000 and $50,000.

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

Patriot Express loans have been approved in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam and generally range from $5,000 to $375,000 in individual loan amounts. The average loan amount is almost $98,000. Nearly 15 percent of those loans have gone to military spouses. After loan applications are approved by the bank, they are submitted to SBA for approval. Most applications are approved by SBA within 24 hours.
SBA has veterans’ business development officers in district offices in every state and territory able to provide military community members full access to the SBA’s range of programs and services. There are also five Veterans Business Outreach Centers located in: Albany, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Lynn Haven, Fla.; Edinburg, Texas; and Sacramento, Calif.

In addition to district offices, SBA’s resource partners SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business; Small Business Development Centers; and Women’s Business Centers provide local and online assistance with: writing a business plan, financing options to start or grow your business, managing the business, expanding the business and selling goods and services to the government.

For those who are already small business owners and who expect call-up, the SBA and its resource partners can assist with preparing their businesses before deployment, managing their businesses, selling goods and services to the government, obtaining other SBA financing and financial assistance, and obtaining loans for economic injury – Military Reserve Economic Injury Disaster Loans (MREIDL). Loans up to $2 million are available for small businesses sustaining economic injury because an owner or essential employee has been called to active duty as a military reservist.

The SBA and its Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) provides comprehensive assistance, outreach and support to veterans. Each year the SBA assists more than 100,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and Reserve Component members. Go to www.sba.gov/vets.
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