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CFO Alex Sink Encourages SBA to Get the Word Out on Expedited Loans

6/25/2010

CONTACT: Kevin Cate, 850-413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink today urged SBA Administrator Karen Mills to proactively get the word out about the quick turnaround time of the SBA’s emergency loan process that can provide much-needed, expedited relief to small businesses impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

She thanked Administrator Mills for recognizing the challenges facing Florida businesses impacted by the oil spill disaster and adapting underwriting guidelines for the emergency loans to expedite loan approval. CFO Sink also praised the SBA for including the consideration of future BP payments for repayment ability, in lieu of SBA's standard process, to quickly get Gulf businesses the assistance they need. Sink also expressed concern that misinformation about turnaround time for loan approval may be deterring some small businesses from seeking these emergency funds.

“An eight-day turnaround on these emergency loans is quite an accomplishment and could be just the lifeline many of our small businesses in Northwest Florida need,” said CFO Sink. “We continue to hear from businesses who fear they don’t have time for the standard application process and are reluctant to apply,  believing it takes months – not days – to process their loan.  I urge you to advertise SBA’s expedited loan process in Northwest Florida to get the word out about your great work in accelerating these loans.”

A copy of the letter follows below:

Dear Administrator Mills:

I appreciate having had the opportunity to speak with you about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Florida’s small businesses.  It is certainly reassuring to hear that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is on top of this issue and that the SBA’s emergency loan process is in place. 

As we discussed, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is no ordinary disaster, and your experience with natural disasters has allowed the SBA to adapt and expedite your loan process to quickly get Gulf Coast small businesses the help that they need.  It is welcome news that the SBA is adapting the underwriting guidelines to use the best available collateral and the consideration of future BP payments for repayment ability, in lieu of the standard process, to quickly get Gulf businesses the assistance they need. I also appreciate that you have increased your staff to effectively address the anticipated volume. 

We look forward to working with your Associate Administrator for Disaster Assistance James Rivera. He has been a great resource regarding insight into the SBA’s outreach efforts in Northwest Florida and the response through their use of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and other SBA disaster assistance resources. Recently, my staff discussed with Mr. Rivera the need for SBA to consider creating advertisements to communicate the expedited emergency loan process to small business owners in Northwest Florida who may be eligible for SBA Disaster loans.

An eight-day turnaround on these emergency loans is quite an accomplishment and could be just the lifeline many of our small businesses in Northwest Florida need. We continue to hear from businesses who fear they don’t have time for the standard application process and are reluctant to apply, believing it takes months – not days – to process the loan.  I urge you to advertise SBA’s expedited loan process in Northwest Florida to get the word out about your great work in accelerating these loans.
 
As Florida continues to respond to the oil spill and assist our small businesses, my office remains a resource to you and the SBA.  Our experienced outreach team is communicating with small businesses as well as working alongside the SBA field team members stationed in Northwest Florida.  My staff will continue to communicate with Mr. Rivera to share with him any feedback our office receives regarding SBA loans, and to disseminate any information that might be of use to small businesses as they work with the SBA loan process.

Again, I enjoyed our conversation, and thank you for your hard work to help Florida’s small businesses during this disaster.

Sincerely,

Alex Sink


cc: James Rivera

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful business leader with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  CFO Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful spending, holding government accountable to Florida’s taxpayers, and cracking down on financial and insurance fraud.