Stimulus Helps Local Businesses Get Loans

Friday, March 13th 2009, 10:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- President Obama's economic stimulus plan is already helping some local businesses secure loans.

At Regent Bank in Tulsa, bankers say they have money to give despite the bad economy. That's in large part because of President Obama's economic stimulus plan, which expands the Small Business Administration's loan programs.

"What I like is that it helps our clients," said Sean Kouplen, CEO of Regent Bank. "I mean, when a business struggles, it is truly a lose-lose all the way around."

The improved SBA loan programs are attractive to Kouplen because they raise the limit of some loans from $2 million to $4 million.

On top of that, the Federal Government in increasing its loan guarantees on some loans to as much as 90 percent, leaving very little risk for banks like Kouplen's.

"It is risky for the government to back these loans," he said. "But the thing that is important to understand is that banks underwrite these credits carefully before they are made. So in other words, we believe they are credit-worthy before you ask for the government guarantee."

Jim Broc is a small business owner who is using an SBA loan to buy a new building for his investment firm.

"It provided financing capability that no bank could offer," Broc said.

He says the SBA loan went through in less than two weeks. Now he's locked in at 4.5 percent for 20 years with no loan origination fee.

"If someone goes ahead and gets the SBA into this, it will give them a lot greater security through these uncertain times," Broc said.

About $730 million from Obama's stimulus plan went to the Small Business Administration. There are reports on Capitol Hill that the Obama administration will expand on those efforts as early as next week.