Military veterans will have an easier time getting business loans thanks to a new Small Business Administration program announced last week. The SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative has received pledges from more than 120 banks, including 20 major national banks and some 100 regional banks nationwide, to increase lending to veterans by 5 percent annually for the next 5 years.
The SBA says veterans often have difficulty getting loans. In the fiscal year ended September 30, the SBA backed more than 3,200 loans to veterans worth more than $1.25 billion. However, the new program is expected to help an additional 2,000 veterans get loans totaling $475 million over the life of the program, according to the SBA.
The SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative complements SBA’s existing partnership with the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) VetLoan Advantage strategic initiative, which offers training and discounts on small business financing to military veterans who own or want to start businesses.
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of SBA’s highest priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in announcing the program. “Through this partnership with national lending partners and regional and community lenders across the U.S., we stand ready to serve veteran entrepreneurs with loan-guarantees, entrepreneurial training, and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive the local economy and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”
The SBA says that 9 percent of small businesses, or 2.45 million, are currently veteran-owned. The new program is designed to complement existing SBA programs aimed at training veterans in entrepreneurship. You can learn more about all of the SBA’s resources to help veterans who are business owners or planning to start businesses at www.sba.gov/veterans.