Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations, under Chairwoman Judy Chu (D-CA), held a hybrid hearing focused on long-standing technological issues at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Though the SBA has made strides in improving their IT over the past decade, the influx of activity from small business owners attempting to access relief during the COVID-19 crisis has further exposed flaws in SBA technology that have been present for years. Lenders, borrowers, applicants, and third party vendors have reported technological shortcomings that have raised concerns about data privacy, capacity and access issues within the E-Tran loan processing system, and the potential for fraud in relief programs. During the hearing, members discussed the technological issues SBA is facing and the agency’s plan to improve its IT systems with SBA Deputy Chief Information Officer, Guy Cavallo.
“This Committee acknowledges the toll that this unprecedented level of activity has taken on SBA’s systems, and we commend you and your staff for working around the clock to fix several of the issues,” said Chairwoman Chu. “The Coronavirus has placed a historic burden on SBA, and we in Congress must ensure that you have the resources you need to assist the American people. But many of these system weaknesses have been known for years and should have been addressed and modernized long before this pandemic.”
“SBA’s transformation was not accomplished overnight; it took the last 3 1/2 years of modernization investments and projects to move SBA to where it is today,” said Guy Cavallo, Deputy Chief Information Officer at SBA. “Significant progress has been made in SBA’s IT modernization journey and there is still more to be done in modernizing some of the key mission support systems. I want to emphasize that IT modernization is a journey that needs perseverance, consistent leadership support, and the efficient use of resources.”
“The Committee plans to explore what steps must be taken to improve SBA’s IT systems moving forward in order to prevent these issues from reoccurring should Congress authorize further small business assistance as we continue to fight the virus, or if a natural disaster should strike and compound the stress on SBA’s systems,” said Chairwoman Chu. “It is imperative that SBA’s technology systems be modernized to meet the demands of the 21st Century.”