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Statement of the Hon. Nydia M. Velazquez on SBA Management Review: Office of Capital Access

Our nation’s 30 million small businesses come in all shapes and sizes across various industries. But regardless of the product they sell or the number of employees on their payroll, the ability to access capital is crucial to their success. Unfortunately, our committee frequently hears from entrepreneurs about their struggle to obtain an affordable loan on reasonable, non-predatory terms. 

The data supports these anecdotes. The Federal Reserve published its 2022 Small Business Credit Survey that found that almost 60 percent of small employer firms reported not having their capital needs met. 

To fill this gap, the Small Business Administration offers a range of lending programs to serve businesses that can’t obtain credit elsewhere. 

These initiatives are administered by the Office of Capital Access, also known as “OCA.”  
OCA carries a loan portfolio of over $1 trillion and oversees traditional SBA initiatives and pandemic relief programs. Their work is fundamental to the SBA’s mission of helping Americans start, build, and grow small businesses. 

Today, I would like to hear from our witness about what is working well at the office and the challenges they face. This is especially important in the wake of an unprecedented increase in demand for SBA’s traditional lending offerings. 
For example, in FY 2022, the 504 loan program experienced record-high demand and reached the authorized lending limit of $7.5 billion, causing the program to pause lending in early September. 

This increased demand has persisted in FY2022, and the program was on pace to be forced to shut down in July before a funding level adjustment was enacted. We are grateful for the bipartisan and bicameral cooperation between our Committee and the Appropriations Committee to secure that funding adjustment and keep the 504 program open for lending this fiscal year.

However, we must continue finding ways that the agency and Congress can ensure that SBA programs are equipped to keep pace with demand from small businesses. 

I’d also like to discuss the steps OCA is taking to help create a more equitable small business economy.  

SBA data shows that the number of 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less declined by almost 52 percent since FY2016, and that loans of $50,000 or less fell nearly 58 percent during the same period. 

Administrator Guzman stressed the importance of small-dollar loans when she testified before the committee last month, so I’d like to hear more about OCA’s work to ensure that all small firms have access to the capital they need to thrive.  

And with the recent news of the COVID-EIDL program closure, this is a very timely hearing for us to discuss the OCA administration of pandemic relief initiatives. On Thursday, May 5th SBA announced that it would no longer accept applications for loan modifications, reconsiderations, and appeals due the exhaustion of program funding. Today, I hope we can provide answers to the many Members and businesses calling us who are awaiting application decisions.

Small employers are leading the way in our pandemic recovery. Since 2021, entrepreneurs have started a record number of small businesses, and small firms have created jobs at a historic pace.
However, their continued success is contingent on their ability to access capital. So, I look forward to discussing the Office of Capital Access and what Congress can do to help the office better serve American small businesses.
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