Make us your home page
Instagram

Federal shutdown cripples small business loan program

The federal shutdown has left Chris Kneer and a couple dozen of his clients in limbo.

Kneer, who runs SBA lending for USAmeriBank out of its Ybor City location, has been stymied by the virtual closing of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Typically, after USAmeriBank internally approves a client for an SBA loan, it takes less than two weeks for the application to be approved by the SBA. As of Wednesday, no pending applications were moving through the federal system and no new ones could be entered.

"We've got 10 in the queue (at the SBA) and another 15 customers that are in the applications stage and could very well be moved into the queue soon," Kneer said. "Nothing's happening."

Some of his clients are on tight deadlines to get a loan approved to buy property or equipment; some need working capital. If the shutdown persists, some customers may have to convince a seller to extend a contract date or be forced to put more money into escrow.

"It puts them in a tough situation," he said. "This is a real-life situation. As the economy is slowly starting to improve, this is not what we need for sure."

According to information on SBA's website, the agency's disaster operations and disaster recovery loan program for small businesses will remain open during the government shutdown.

But not much else.

No one is processing popular programs like the flagship SBA 7(a) loans and the 504 development loans used to buy real estate, machinery and equipment.

The SBA has been a critical lifeline for many small and emerging businesses trying to recover from the Great Recession. Over the past four years, the agency has provided guarantees for loans of as much as $106 billion to more than 193,000 small businesses.

The Small Business Development Center at USF's Tampa campus — which receives federal funding but is not staffed by federal employees — remained open for business Wednesday.

Being open, however, didn't mean its services weren't curtailed, director Eileen Rodriguez said. Staffers could counsel small businesses and start loan applications internally, but could not funnel any loans to the SBA.

Rodriguez said one client was recently approved for an $850,000 SBA loan by his bank, "but … they can't even submit it" to the SBA.

When politicians first talked about a shutdown, Kneer said he thought it would last at most a couple of days.

"It looks like it could stretch out a bit longer. If this stretches for weeks, that pile (of pending loans) will grow and grow," he said.

"We don't want customers to panic, but we have to prepare them for what could happen."

Federal shutdown cripples small business loan program 10/03/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]