WASHINGTON (8/4/09)--The Credit Union National Association supports proposed changes to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) Business Loan Program, saying in a letter sent Monday that changes in the size criteria would help alleviate the economic crisis in some measure by facilitating lending to a greater number of small businesses. The SBA’s revised rule would extend 7(a) loans to small businesses with a net worth of $8.5 million or less. The change will stand until Sept. 30, 2010, but CUNA has urged the SBA to make this change permanent before that time. The amendments to the 7(a) program are estimated to grant eligibility to as many as 70,000 additional small businesses, and CUNA has praised the current program and other SBA programs as being “very helpful for credit unions in their efforts to provide credit to their members who own small businesses.” CUNA has also lobbied on behalf of lifting the cap on member business lending (MBL), a move that could inject as much as $10 billion in funds. Rep Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) recently introduced legislation that would double the current MBL cap of 12.25% of assets. The cap would not apply to loans of less than $250,000, business loans in underserved areas, and loans to non-profit religious institutions under Kanjorski’s legislation. CUNA also pledged to work with the SBA and legislators to address additional limitations on SBA lending program fees and to ensure that the SBA has the staff needed to properly “review loan applications, process guarantee payments to lenders, and handle other problems that arise with specific lenders.” For CUNA's letter to the SBA, use the resource link.