As many as 80 percent of new small businesses fail within 18 months of opening their doors. By year 10, the number climbs to 96 percent. These are not poorly operated companies being run by unprepared entrepreneurs. Many of them fall victim to a weak local economy, uncontrollable circumstances and too much competition in their area. All of these business will have debt they default on, and many will have SBA loans they are unable to pay back as expected.
An SBA loan default can result in the loss of business property, business accounts being seized and personal property may be seized as well. The result can be financially devastating for the business owner who is already struggling. It can lead to wage garnishments for the borrower and prevent them from receiving any future loans from the SBA. If the amount collected is insufficient, the U.S. Treasury can take the reins and collect through the Tax Offset Program. This can result in additional fees and interest charges being added to the debt and any tax refunds will be seized or garnished until the amount is repaid in full.
To reduce the impact to the borrower, an SBA Offer in Compromise is an option that may make it easier for the borrower to satisfy their end of the agreement without losing all of their property. This method is not allowed if the borrower already has the means to repay the loan. Borrowers who are able to pay a lump sum or a repayment plan that will not exceed 5 years are more likely to get their offer approved.
It will benefit the borrower to contact the SBA or an attorney before they reach the point of forcing an SBA loan foreclosure. The collection methods with the SBA are similar to other debts. Missed payments will traditionally result in collections calls and letters. If an SBA demand letter is received, it is important to respond to it, but to do so correctly. Contacting an attorney familiar with this type of legal matter will make it much easier to avoid making common mistakes that could have serious financial consequences. SBA collection processes can be aggressive, so do not ignore the warnings. Take action immediately to reduce the potential impact.