Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee, led by Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), held a hearing reviewing the challenges facing the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Capital Access (OCA). OCA is responsible for managing the SBA’s loan programs, which provide guarantees for short- and long-term loans on reasonable terms for small businesses that cannot access credit elsewhere.
“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,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “However, their continued success is contingent on their ability to access capital. That’s why I’m committed to working with committee members to enhance OCA’s programs, remove barriers to accessing capital, and support entrepreneurs as they continue to drive our economy forward.”
According to a 2022 Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey, nearly 60% of small employer firms reported not having their capital needs met. The SBA offers a range of programs managed by the OCA to help fill this gap. The OCA’s over $1 trillion portfolio includes traditional SBA lending initiatives and pandemic relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
During the hearing, an OCA representative testified on the office's progress in addressing issues like fraud and abuse in pandemic programs, improving the PPP forgiveness process, expediting processing times for COVID EIDL loans, and expanding access to core agency programs. Members also had the chance to examine OCA’s operations and explore the office’s future as it transitions away from pandemic relief efforts.
“As the SBA transitions its focus from pandemic relief to its core mission, the agency has never had more startups to support. As any entrepreneur knows, new startup businesses need capital,” said Patrick Kelley, Associate Administrator of the Office of Capital Access at SBA. “Not only is access to affordable, timely capital key to small business growth and survival generally, but it is particularly vital in today’s economy, which is marked by both high growth and rising demand, as well as headwinds such as rising prices and a changing labor market. The SBA’s core lending programs are supporting this dynamic cohort of new businesses through the tailwinds and headwinds of today’s economy.”