SBA creates express loan program for exporters

Seven Colorado banks and credit unions have signed up to participate in the Small Business Administration’s Export Express loan guaranty program.

It means more access to capital for small businesses interested in beginning or expanding their export services. Seven private lenders, covering most counties in Colorado, have signed agreements to participate in the program.

SBA officials say the Export Express is the simplest export loan product offered by the SBA and allows participating lenders to use their own forms, procedures and analyses. Loans made through Export Express up to $350,000 have a 90 percent guaranty and loans between $350,000 and $500,000 have a 75 percent guaranty.

SBA’s Export Express loan program was a pilot program for many years but got a boost to become permanent in 2010 when President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act.

President Obama has called for doubling the nation’s exports to support creating 2 million jobs in the next five years. Small business exporters are taking advantage of the world market and selling billions of dollars of goods and services overseas every year, SBA officials said. About 70 percent of all exporters have fewer than 20 employees.

The goal of the SBA Export Express program is for loan proceeds to be used by businesses to enhance their export development. The loans can be a term loan or a revolving line of credit. For example, businesses could use the funds to participate in a foreign trade show, finance standby letters of credit, translate product literature for use in foreign markets, finance specific export orders and expansions and buy equipment.

“In the international marketplace, smaller firms can be just as effective as large corporations – and many small businesses in the Rocky Mountain region have advantages because they can serve niche markets,” said Greg Lopez, SBA Colorado district office director. “Over time, new consumers provide diversification that helps offset sales when local markets fluctuate.”

The SBA Export Express lenders are: Vectra Bank Colorado, CoBiz Bank, First State Bank, Guaranty Bank and Trust, Public Service Credit Union, Timberline Bank, and Versus Bank of Commerce. The SBA provides an answer in 36 hours or less.