The SBA announced today that over the last two years their Patriot Express Pilot Loan Program has backed more than $310 million in loans lent out to nearly 4,000 veterans. These vets are using the SBA-guaranteed loans to start-up and expand small businesses. As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which raised loan guarantees to 90 percent, and eliminated fees temporarily, the number of Patriot Express loans have recently increased to record levels in 2009.
Patriot Express, launched in June 2007, builds on the more than $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-owned businesses, and the counseling assistance and procurement support it provides each year to more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and Reserve members.
“This commitment to more than 25 million veterans across the country, and the thousands returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is something we at SBA take seriously,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said. “The Patriot Express initiative, in conjunction with other SBA programs, goes directly to the needs of our veterans who want to start, or already have their own businesses. This critical access to capital helps them grow their businesses and create good paying jobs in their communities.”
Patriot Express is a streamlined loan product based on the SBA’s highly successful SBA Express Program, but with a better guaranty and lower interest rate. The Patriot Express loan is offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan
approvals. Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA’s maximum guaranty of up to 90 percent.
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. Local SBA district offices will have a listing of Patriot Express lenders in their areas. Details on the initiative can be found at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.
Patriot Express loans are available to veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members 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 service member or veteran who died during service, or of a service-connected disability.
For those who are already small business owners and who expect call-up, the SBA and its resource partners have expertise to assist with preparing their businesses before deployment, managing their businesses, selling goods and services to the government, obtaining other SBA financing and financial
assistance, and obtaining loans for economic injury – Military Reserve Economic Injury Disaster Loans (MREIDL) – Loans of up to $2 million are available for small businesses sustaining economic injury because an owner or essential employee has been called to active duty as a military reservist.
The SBA and its Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) provides comprehensive assistance, outreach and support to veterans. Each year the SBA assists more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists. Go to www.sba.gov/vets.