WASHINGTON (1/7/16)--The Small Business Administration (SBA) has not resolved many longstanding management challenges due to a lack of sustained attention, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“Frequent turnover of political leadership in the federal government, including at SBA, has often made sustaining attention to needed changes difficult,” the report reads, noting that recommendations in the areas of program implementation and oversight, contracting, human capital, and information technology (IT) still remain to be implemented.
According to the report, a senior SBA official stated that the agency has prioritized improving human capital management and IT, and it had begun addressing some internal control weaknesses that GAO and the SBA Office of the Inspector General identified as contributing to the agency's management challenges.
The agency had begun to update its standard operating procedure on internal controls and has planned more revisions to include guidance on implementing GAO's 2014 revisions to federal internal control standards.
The SBA has been an important ally for credit unions in recent years, as its signature 7(a) loan program features loans in which up to 85% of the loan is guaranteed by the agency. The government-guaranteed portion of the loan does not count against a credit union’s statutory cap on member business lending.
According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), 374 credit unions have outstanding SBA loans totaling more than $1.5 billion, as of September 2015. CUNA has worked closely with the SBA over the past year to encourage more credit unions to use SBA services when serving member businesses.
The 7(a) loan program is authorized for a total of $26.5 billion in fiscal year 2016, an increase of $8 billion, per the government funding bill signed into law last month.
The SBA 504 program, for real estate and equipment, has been authorized for $7.5 billion for fiscal year 2016. Credit unions are eligible to participate in the 504 program as well.