Here’s some good news from the Wall Street Journal’s Independent Street blog: SBA Loan Programs Getting Back on Track:
“It’s finally happening. Efforts to get money to capital-strapped small businesses are beginning to work, as banks have returned to making loans backed by the federal government, says Karen Gordon Mills, the new Small Business Administration head.”
I do think I’m feeling an end to the worst of it, the world beginning to come back. I get it in our web traffic and sales flow at Palo Alto Software, and talking to friends who also run businesses. Things are still down, to be sure, but at least they’re not getting worse.
The WSJ post, by Raymund Flandez, adds some real numbers, too:
More than 10,000 Recovery Act loans have been approved, which represents about $3 billion in credit supporting small businesses, she said in her testimony at a Senate hearing Wednesday. The hearing was about the small business provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was enacted in February.
Since then, more than half of the $730 million in Recovery Act funding has been put to use to make it easier for small business owners to borrow. It’s doing this mainly by reducing fees as well as increasing the guarantee that the SBA provides lenders in case of loan defaults. Weekly loan volume in the SBA’s two most popular lending programs is up 25 percent to $217 million since March 16, when the funds were made available, compared to the $171 million approved in the weeks before mid-March.
So we still have high unemployment, house values in chaos, foreclosures, investors forced to retreat because of lower net worth . . . but at least it begins to feel like things are turning up.