SBA Loans Explained - The 7(a) Loan
If you obtain an SBA loan - specifically a 7(a) loan, you can use the loan proceeds to help finance a great variety of business expenses.
An SBA Guaranteed Loan with multiple personal guarantors considers each of the guarantors as being “jointly and severally” liable for the loan balance. This means that anyone who signed the loan as a borrower, obligor or a guarantor, is liable for the entire outstanding balance. Therefore, each and every guarantor can be pursued for the total loan balance. The problem that manifests with multiple guarantors after an SBA loan default is when certain individuals have more personal assets than others. Generally, lenders, the CDCs and the SBA target those personal guarantors who may have more assets than others. Hence, those individuals whose personal guarantees are “worthless” will generally not have to pay as much.
If your SBA loan is in default and you are working with your lender to wind down the business and settle the deficiency with an offer in compromise, time is of the essence. Banks generally do not wait much longer than 60-90 days after the defaulted borrower (business) has been liquidated or shut down to tender an OIC to the SBA for consideration which, if accepted, could potentially release the guarantors from the deficiency for a lesser amount. Generally speaking, the bank or CDC will send you what is commonly known as a Notice of Default, Acceleration and Demand for Payment for the entire loan balance due. If litigation is not a fiscally viable option and after certain collateral liquidation, you may be offered the chance to submit an SBA OIC with the bank or CDC for SBA consideration. If your case is ultimately transferred to the SBA, you should receive a 60-day Official Notice and demand for payment. If you fail to timely submit an SBA OIC within the administrative time frame as noted in this letter, the SBA will then refer your debt to the U.S. Department of Treasury for enforced collection, and thus, you will probably lose your one (1) time shot to settle for less than what is purportedly owed on the SBA debt through the SBA Offer in Compromise process..It should be noted that Treasury rarely collects on these bad loans directly – rather they hire private collection agencies (PCAs) to handle this. These PCAs don’t know anything about the history behind the loan – their job is to be ruthless in their collection endeavors as they generally receive a generous percent of the collected amount or actually bought the so-called junk federal debt for pennies on the dollar. Several of these federally approved private collection agencies or junk debt buyers are particularly nasty, and rarely settle for less than 50% of the outstanding amount as the incentives for collection, litigation and judgment pursuit are very high. Contrast that with the results that we have reviewed and settled and it’s easy to see the importance of addressing your outstanding SBA debt sooner rather than later, whether you’re working with a non-attorney consultant, an SBA Attorney or Federal Agency Practitioner, or attempting to do it yourself. If you think your banker is nasty or difficult to work with, you don’t want to experience the tactics of these collection agencies or junk debt buyers.
Most SBA loans fall under two categories: 7(a) and 504.In an SBA 7(a) transaction, a loan is secured from a private sector lender and, provided that the lender and borrower have satisfied the requirements of the SBA, if the borrower defaults on the loan, the SBA will reimburse the lender for a percentage on the loan loss (usually 75% or 85%, depending on various factors).In an SBA 504 transaction, typically, a loan is secured from a private sector lender with a first position lien covering up to 50% of the project cost, and a second loan is secured from a private sector lender with a junior lien position covering up to 40% of the project cost, and the borrower makes a contribution of equity equal to at least 10% of the project cost. After the closing of the first and second loans, and provided that the lender and borrower have complied with the requirements of the SBA, a debenture is sold to investors, the proceeds of which pays off the second loan, whereupon the second loan is assigned to a Certified Development Company (“CDC”) and then to the SBA, which provides a 100% guarantee of the debenture.The existence of the SBA’s guarantee in each of these transactions is an inducement for the lender to make a loan on terms it would otherwise not make. However, the SBA guarantee does not allow the lender to disregard standard commercial underwriting principles such as collateral and personal guarantees. The SBA guarantee does allow the lender to loan more money, extend longer terms, and approve loans to less mature businesses than it otherwise would.The SBA’s purpose under these financing programs is to help businesses gain more access to capital, thereby creating jobs and expanding the tax base. Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (“2010 Act”), the maximum SBA guarantee to the lender on a 7(a) loan was increased to $5,000,000; and on a 504 Loan, the maximum debenture amount was increased to $5,000,000.
An SBA Offer in Compromise is not possible if the liability of the debtor is clear and the SBA can collect fully without protracted litigation. The amount offered for settlement must bear a reasonable relationship to the estimated value of the projected amount of recovery available through enforced collection. An SBA OIC is not available when the obligor has the ability to pay the deficiency in full within a reasonable time frame – generally, no later than 5 years. An OIC cannot be accepted if there is any evidence or knowledge of fraud, substantial misrepresentation, or financial dishonesty on the part of the offeror.
While the SBA prefers a cash settlement offer (i.e., lump sum payment or cash compromise) with an SBA OIC Package, a monthly installment payment plan not to exceed 5 years or 60 months (term compromise) may also be considered if necessary. If a term compromise is desired, the SBA may also require a lien on any worthwhile collateral that may be available to secure the agreed upon balance due.