Senator Booker Asks SBA to Examine Women and Minority-Owned Small Business Lending
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has sent a letter to Acting Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Marianne O'Brien Markowitz to inquire about the participation of women and minority-owned businesses in the SBA's loan guarantee programs and to request the SBA's commitment to increase its engagement with those groups.
Through its 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program and 504 Loan Guarantee Program, the SBA provides the majority of long-term credit in the United States to small businesses. These loans are of particular importance to New Jersey, where small businesses represent 98 percent of all employers and employ 50 percent of the state's private-sector labor force.
“I would like to work with you to ensure the SBA is serving a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs,” Booker wrote to Acting Administrator O’Brien Markowitz. “Of particular importance to my state’s economy is the access of women and minority-owned small business to these programs. These businesses often operate in underseved areas, making them critical to increasing economic opportunity and mobility in their communities.”
Analysis of the SBA’s lending data reveals recent declines in loans to certain minority small business owners. African-American borrowers received 1.7 percent of the $23.09 billion in total fiscal year 2013 SBA loans, down from 8.2 percent of total SBA loan volume in fiscal year 2008, according to a story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. Similarly, black-owned small businesses received 2.3 percent of the SBA’s roughly 54,000 loans in FY 2013, down from 11 percent of the SBA’s loans in FY 2008.
In his letter, Senator Booker requested additional lending information from the agency to “help determine how effectively we are addressing inequalities many of our women and minority-owned small businesses face.” He also requested that the SBA commit to boosting “outreach and participation rates among women and minority-owned small businesses” in the Administration’s 7(a) Loan Guaranty and 504 Loan Guarantee Programs.
As part of his push to empower entrepreneurs in New Jersey, Booker is holding a series of forums across the state over the next few months to marshal federal government resources and to gather representatives to address issues and concerns of New Jersey’s small business owners. The first forum was held on March 14 in Camden and was geared toward minority business owners. The Senator’s second forum will address issues women small business owners face and will take place in April.
Through these events and his outreach to the SBA, Booker aims to equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to expand their businesses and employ more New Jerseyans.
Full text of Senator Booker’s letter to Acting Administrator O’Brien Markowitz can be accessed here.