"The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty programs designed to encourage lenders to provide loans to small businesses 'that might not otherwise obtain financing on reasonable terms and conditions.' The SBA's 7(a) loan guaranty program is considered the agency's flagship loan program. Its name is derived from Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act of 1953 (P.L. 83-163, as amended), which authorizes the SBA to provide business loans and loan guaranties to American small businesses. […] This report discusses the rationale provided for the 7(a) program; the program's borrower and lender eligibility standards and program requirements; and program statistics, including loan volume, loss rates, use of proceeds, borrower satisfaction, and borrower demographics. It also examines issues raised concerning the SBA's administration of the 7(a) program, including the oversight of 7(a) lenders and the program's lack of outcome-based performance measures. In addition, the report surveys congressional action taken during the 111th Congress to enhance small businesses' access to capital, including providing more than $1.1 billion to temporarily subsidize the 7(a) and 504/Certified Development Companies (CDC) loan guaranty programs' fees and temporarily increase the 7(a) program's maximum loan guaranty percentage to 90% (funding was exhausted on January 3, 2011); raising the 7(a) program's gross loan limit from $2 million to $5 million; and establishing an alternative size standard for the 7(a) and 504/CDC loan programs."
CRS Report for Congress, R41146
The National Agricultural Law Center: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/