SBA adjusts standards to expand lending opportunities

Deadline to comment on interim final rule is Sept. 16

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently issued an interim final rule that will adjust monetary-based small business size standards for inflation to allow more small businesses to become eligible for the SBA’s loan and contracting programs. The interim final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 18.

The SBA is adjusting its industry-specific monetary-based size standards by nearly 8.4% to reflect the inflation that has occurred since the last adjustment for inflation in 2014, according to a press release from the agency. This time, the SBA is also adjusting the revenues-based size standards for agricultural industries, which were previously set by statute. These adjusted size standards will become effective on Aug. 19, and will be reviewed again as part of the second five-year review of size standards mandated by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

Additionally, the SBA is adjusting program-specific monetary-based size standards by the same amount for sales or leases of government property and stockpile purchases. The SBA is not adjusting the tangible net worth and net income based interim alternative size standards that apply to the SBA-guaranteed 7(a) and 504 Certified Development Company loan programs, which were established under the Small Business Jobs Act.

The interim alternative size standards for the 7(a) and 504 loan programs will remain in effect until the SBA establishes a permanent alternative size standard for these programs. The SBA is also not adjusting the tangible net worth and net income-based alternative size standard for the Small Business Investment Company program.

The SBA estimates that nearly 90,000 additional businesses will gain small business status under the adjusted size standards, becoming eligible for SBA loan and contracting programs. This could possibly lead to as much as $750 million in additional federal contracts awarded to small businesses and up to 120 additional small business loans totaling nearly $65 million, according to the agency.

Comments can be submitted on the interim final rule by Sept. 16, 2019, at www.regulations.gov, identified with the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AH17. Interested parties may also mail comments to Khem R. Sharma, Chief, Office of Size Standards, 409 Third St. SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416.

For detailed information on how SBA establishes, reviews, or modifies its size standards, view the SBA-issued white paper entitled “Size Standards Methodology.”