SBA loans to resume after Congress raises lending limit

President Barack Obama, center, talks during his meeting with small business owners and members of congress to discuss the importance of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015. With Obama are from left are, Rep. Maxime Waters, D-Calif.; Paul Sullivan, Vice President of International Business Development at Acrow Bridge; Susan Jaime, right, CEO Ferra Coffee International, and Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. Obama is ramping up pressure on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, the obscure federal agency's charter expired last month after lawmakers refused to reauthorize it. The bank underwrites loans to foreign companies purchasing American products, but conservatives call it corporate welfare. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses will soon be able to get loans approved again by the federal government.

The House has passed and sent to President Barack Obama a bill raising the lending authority for the Small Business Administration’s biggest loan program, known as the 7(a) program. Loan approvals went on hold Thursday when the SBA reached its $18.75 billion annual limit for loan guarantees.

The bill, approved earlier by the Senate, raises the lending limit to $23.5 billion.

The SBA reached its annual limit with more than two months left in the government’s fiscal year. The improving economy has encouraged many more owners to take more risks including borrowing to expand their companies. Owners use 7(a) loans to buy and operate companies and purchase and improve property and equipment.
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