Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act of 2023

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 25, 2023
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill before us today, H.R. 449, the Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act, which will improve SBA's data reporting with respect to the microloan program.

Congress created the microloan program in 1991 to make funds available to nonprofit, community-based lenders who, in turn, make small-dollar loans to eligible borrowers. Many of these borrowers are unable to get a traditional loan due to poor credit, no credit history, or a lack of business experience.

This program reaches various demographic groups that will otherwise not be served by the private sector or even the SBA's 7(a) program, especially businesses located in underserved communities.

In fact, in fiscal year 2021, the program delivered more than 4,500 loans to small businesses in these communities, totaling almost $75 million. This fiscal year, the SBA estimates it will assist over 5,700 small businesses, supporting approximately 24,000 jobs.

The bill we are considering today will help Congress and the public better evaluate the program and its impact on underserved communities.

Despite the program's record of success, many participating intermediaries report being restricted in their lending activity as a result of numerous rules governing the program being outdated. The information received from these reports will assist Congress and the agency in developing policies to continue the strong performance of the program.

I applaud the bipartisanship shown by Mr. Burchett and Mr. Kim, the sponsors of this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to vote ``yes,'' and I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. KIM of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, during the last Congress, Mr. Burchett and I introduced this important bill as part of a two-bill microloan major impact package.

Together, these bills would increase the number of microloan lenders in our communities, increase access to capital, and ensure greater transparency around how taxpayer dollars are being spent by the SBA.

I look forward to continuing to work with the chairman and the ranking member, as well as Congressman Burchett to again advance these pieces of legislation.

Today, I rise in support of the Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act, and I look forward to working with them to advance the Microloan Improvement Act in the 118th Congress, as well.

I have heard from a diverse range of businessowners across New Jersey's Third District about how just small increases in access to capital could make an enormous impact for them.

These businessowners aren't asking for the moon. Many of them are in communities that are underserved and may not have a credit history, extensive past business experience, or the luxury of coming from wealth, but they have a dream. They are entrepreneurial, and with a small investment, a microloan to get started in some cases, they can launch their business, chase their dreams, create jobs, and transform communities.

By passing this bill, we can help enhance microloans in rural areas and provide greater transparency to ensure we are using taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively.

This bill will help make sure the SBA's microloan program is reaching those most in need, best serving America's small businessowners, and giving them a fair shot at success.

I thank Congressman Burchett for leading this effort and for the support of the Small Business Committee. I urge all of my colleagues to support small businesses across this country and vote ``yes'' on this bill.

This bill will greatly increase the publicly available information about the microloan program's performance and impact.

If we intend to continue to support the smallest of small businesses, especially women- and minority-owned businesses, we need to make sure the programs targeting them are operating at their best. That starts with improving the data and information available about where the loans are going, how affordable they are, and where the gaps in coverage are.

With more data, Congress will be able to monitor the program and identify areas for improvement.

I thank the gentlemen from Tennessee and New Jersey for their hard work and collaboration in bringing this bill to the floor today. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes,'' and I yield back the balance of my time.