HOPES RISE FOR EX-IM BANK
The House last week approved a bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank's charter, which expired June 30. The agency has been unable to make or guarantee new loans to exporters since then.
The bank has been in limbo because members of Congress have been unable to agree about whether the bank is needed. Conservative lawmakers and groups say most exports are made without government help and that large Fortune 500 companies are the primary beneficiaries of the bank. But supporters, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, say many small businesses get help in exporting through the bank.
The Senate must now agree to revive the charter for the bank to start lending again.
You can learn more about the bank at www.exim.gov
CROWDFUNDING GETTING CLOSER
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules that will allow individuals to invest in small companies through Internet portals and brokerage firms, a process known as crowdfunding. The rules also allow the companies to get up to $1 million in individual investor money annually without having to register with the SEC as larger companies must.
The rules are part of the Jumpstart Our Small Business Startups Act that Congress passed in 2012 to help small companies get financing. They are expected to become final, and for investors to start buying the stock, next year. The rules must first be made available for public comment.
You can learn more about the crowdfunding rules at the SEC's website, www.sec.gov
The number of loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration in its biggest lending program, 7(a) loans, rose by nearly a quarter in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
The SBA reported that it backed 63,000 loans, an increase of 22 percent over the previous fiscal year, and they totaled $23.6 billion, up 23 percent. The agency interpreted the increase as indicating that many companies are still struggling to get conventional bank loans. Government-backed loans are generally available to businesses that are unable to get credit elsewhere.
A separate program, the 504 program, made fewer loans — 5,787 compared to 5,885 the previous year. But in terms of loan amounts, 504 lending was up; loans in the latest fiscal year totaled $4.3 billion, compared to $4.2 billion.
You can learn more about SBA loans at www.sba.gov
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