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News & Press: WIPP Legislative Updates

Changes to Important Lending Program for Women Fall Short

Friday, July 31, 2015  
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WIPP Special Policy Briefing

Changes to Important Lending Program for Women Fall Short

The SBA’s Microloan Program, where women entrepreneurs make up the majority of borrowers, is getting attention from Congress. The House and Senate are both looking at how to modernize the program -- an issue raised in WIPP’s recently published Access to Capital Platform.

Earlier this month, the House passed legislation that would address some, but not all of the concerns of the community reliant on the program, including a diverse group of women business owners. The bill, the Microloan Modernization Act (H.R. 2670), would:

  • Increase the portfolio size for lenders approving microloans (under $50,000);
  • Extend the repayment terms for loans above $10,000 to a 10-year maximum;
  • Provide an additional ability to offer lines of credit.
  • Create an SBA waiver for certain lending assistance restrictions
  • Require two studies on microlenders and microbusinesses (under 5 employees)


The House legislation, however, did not include amendments that would have removed restrictions that slow the lending process. Instead they added a waiver-based system that, in WIPP’s view, will create additional paperwork for lenders and the SBA. This week the Senate Small Business Committee approved similar legislation (S. 1857) sponsored by Deb Fischer (R-NE), sending the bill to the whole Senate for consideration.

WIPP would have preferred the provisions of another bill introduced by Senator Fischer, the Microloan Act of 2015 (S. 1445), which would remove restrictions that slow loans to entrepreneurs. Congresswoman Chu offered a package of amendments to the House bill that would have reflected these changes but unfortunately, the House Small Business Committee rejected them. S. 1445 is yet to be considered by the Senate Small Business Committee. The timing of Senate consideration for S. 1857 in uncertain.

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