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Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I remain focused on the needs of small businesses. Much of what we do on the committee involves overseeing the Small Business Administration's contracting, counseling, and capital programs, and we are always looking for ways to improve them. As our country slowly recovers the economic downturn, one of the most pressing issues facing small business owners is access to capital.
In the past two fiscal years alone, the Small Business Administration, SBA, supported over $30 billion in loans to approximately 60,000 small businesses each year through its 7(a) and 504/CDC lending programs. As of September 2012, there were over 2,400 SBA lenders nationwide. While the SBA currently releases some information publicly about SBA lending activity, it is extremely difficult to find and comprehend if you are not an SBA lending professional. If a small business, mayor, or governor wants to determine SBA lending activity in their area, they lack the ability to do so easily.
I come to the floor today to introduce a bill that would increase accountability at the SBA in its lending reporting activity. The Communicating Lender Activity Reports from the Small Business Administration, CLEAR SBA, Act would require the SBA to establish an online database to provide consumers with more transparent, user-friendly data about their local SBA lenders.
More specifically, the CLEAR SBA Act would require the SBA to post a user friendly Lender Activity Index on the SBA website. Users will be able to access the following data for any given bank: name of bank or Certified Development Company, CDC, number of SBA loans each lender made, total dollar amount of SBA loans of each bank or CDC, zip code of lender activity, not where every single loan was made, but a list of every zip code where the bank has made an SBA loan, industries lent to, hospitality, manufacturing, service, software, etc., stage of business cycle, new, or existing business, and business specific information, i.e. Women Owned Businesses, Minority Owned Businesses, or Veteran Owned Businesses. Data will be available for the year to date and users will be able to compare to 3 previous fiscal years. Both quarterly and annual data will be included.
I would like to emphasize that this proposal has already received bipartisan support. In the 112th Congress, the SBA Lender Activity Index was included as a provision in Title II of the SUCCESS Act. On July 12, 2012, the Senate voted on the SUCCESS Act. On July 12, 2012, the Senate voted on the SUCCESS Act as part of Senate Amendment 2521 to S. 2237, the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012. Although the amendment came up short of the 60 votes needed to end debate, the SUCCESS Act received a strong 57 bipartisan votes, including five of my Republican colleagues. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together in support of this common sense proposal to increase transparency and accountability at the SBA.
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