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Announcement of SBA Export Express-a New Pilot Loan Guaranty Program for Exporters

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Department of Commerce statistics indicate that small businesses with fewer than 20 employees represent approximately 65 percent of all exporters in the U.S. The SBA recognizes that many of these exporters have financing needs that are too small to be met profitably by traditional lending sources. SBA is mandated under the Small Business Act to increase the access of small businesses to capital for the purpose of fostering international trade. To that end, the Agency has developed a pilot loan guaranty program called SBA Export Express. This pilot will streamline the processing of small export loans by allowing a lender to use its own documents based on its use of established and proven credit review and analysis procedures for loans of similar size and type. SBA Export Express is a sub-program of SBAExpress, conforming to its already established policies and procedures. Its difference from SBAExpress lies in its exclusive focus on existing and potential small business exporters.

To be eligible for this pilot loan guaranty program, an applicant must demonstrate that loan proceeds will enable their company to enter a new export market or expand an existing export market. To fulfill this requirement, a business plan must be submitted to the lender with information provided to establish a reasonable likelihood of expanded export sales. In addition, applicants must have been in operation, though not necessarily in exporting, for at least 12 months.

SBA Export Express proceeds are to be used by small businesses to develop or expand their export markets. SBA Export Express proceeds may be used to finance: standby letters of credit that are used as bid or performance bonds; revolving lines of credit for export purposes; term loans; and other financing to enable small business concerns, including small business export trading companies and export management companies, to develop foreign markets. Proceeds may also be used for the acquisition, construction, renovation, modernization, improvement or expansion of productive facilities or equipment to be used in the United States in the production of goods or services involved in international trade.

To encourage participating lenders to address more aggressively the needs of small business exporters, SBA's percent of loan guaranty under SBAExpress will be the same as that for the regular 7(a) loans, or currently 75 percent (80 percent if the loan amount is $100,000 or less). The maximum loan amount eligible for SBA Export Express will be $150,000.

Recognizing that technical assistance can be crucial to the success of small business exporters, the SBA Export Express program requires a technical assistance component, delivered through the SBA personnel at U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). This assistance may include training offered by: the Export Trade Assistance Partnership (ETAP) Program; International Trade Centers (located at Small Business Development Centers); Service Corps of Retired Executives; District Export Councils; or the Export Legal Assistance Network (E-LAN).

Participation in the SBA Export Express program will be granted to any lender that has been approved for participation in SBAExpress. SBA Export Express will adopt the abbreviated SBAExpress loan application, which will be submitted to the Agency's centralized processing center in Sacramento. The processing center will determine the borrower's eligibility and issue a SBA loan number.

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Paul Kirwin of SBA at 202-205-7261.

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Dated: July 17, 2000.

Jeanne Sclater,

Associate Deputy Administrator for Capital Access.

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[FR Doc. 00-25992 Filed 10-10-00; 8:45 am]