Small Business Administration 7(a) loans to resume after Congress raises lending ceiling

Associated Press

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.

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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.