SBA launches loan initiative for veterans, servicemembers

WASHINGTON -- The Small Business Administration launched the Patriot Express Pilot Loan as the latest extension to the financial, procurement and technical assistance programs the agency provides to the military community.

Patriot Express is a streamlined loan product based on SBA's highly successful SBA Express Program, but with enhanced guarantee and interest rate characteristics.

"With military activations and extensions having a profound impact on entrepreneurs in the military community, SBA is committed to helping America's service men and women during the continuing war on terror," said Steven Preston, the SBA administrator. "We believe that Patriot Express, supported by SBA's other services, goes directly to the needs of these American patriots who wish to start businesses, and in the process encourages job creation and growth, an essential part of the president's economic agenda."

Patriot Express is available to military community members including veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty servicemembers participating in the military's Transition Assistance Program, Reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, and the widowed spouse of a servicemember or veteran who died during service, or of a service-connected disability.

The new Patriot Express Loan is offered by SBA's network of participating lenders nationwide and features SBA's fastest turnaround time for loan approvals. Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA's maximum guaranty of up to 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less and up to 75 percent for loans of more than $150,000 up to $500,000. For loans above $350,000, lenders are required to take all available collateral.

The Patriot Express Loan can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases.

Patriot Express Loans feature SBA's lowest interest rates for business loans, generally 2.25 percent to 4.75 percent more than prime depending upon the size and maturity of the loan. Local SBA district offices will have a listing of Patriot Express lenders in their areas.

Recently, the SBA has expanded its face to the military community through an expansion of its Veterans Affairs Office, increased local outreach and goaling in its district offices and participation in Department of Labor job seminars.

SBA provides programs and services for veterans and members of the military community wanting to establish or expand small businesses.

SBA has veterans' business development officers in district offices in every state and territory able to provide military community members full access to the SBA's range of programs and services. There are also five Veterans Business Outreach Centers located in: Albany, N.Y.; Pittsburgh; Lynn Haven, Fla.; Edinburg, Texas; and Sacramento, Calif.

"More than 14 percent of businesses in America are owned by veterans, and SBA is proud that we guarantee more than $1 billion annually in loans for veteran-owned businesses," Mr. Preston said. "Veteran-owned businesses make significant contributions to the economy and because of the unique technical and leadership skills they acquire through military service, they can become successful entrepreneurs."
Details on the initiative can be found at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.