Get Started: SBA loans, entrepreneur confidence

SBA LOAN FEES

The Small Business Administration has lowered to zero the fees on its 7(a) loans under $150,000. The change took effect with the start of the government's new fiscal year on Oct. 1, Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit said in a letter posted on the SBA website, www.sba.gov .

The fees will make the most popular SBA loans cheaper for small businesses. Before Oct. 1, businesses that got SBA-backed loans under $150,000 had to pay a fee of 2 percent of the portion of the loan that the government guaranteed. On a $100,000 loan, the fee would typically come to $1,700.

The 7(a) loans can be used to start, buy, expand or operate a small business. By making loans cheaper, the SBA is hoping to get more owners to borrow.

Lenders are also getting a break. The 0.55 percent fee they pay the government was also lowered to zero.

The SBA did not announce an end date for the no-fee loans.

CONFIDENT ENTREPRENEURS

The owners of brand-new businesses are confident about their companies despite the uncertain economy and political climate in Washington, according to a survey taken in the third quarter by the Kauffman Foundation and LegalZoom.

The most optimistic entrepreneurs in the survey were those age 18 to 30. Ninety-five percent said they feel certain about the near-term profitability of their companies. Entrepreneurs age 31 to 40 were almost as confident; 94 percent felt certain about their profits.

Entrepreneurs are by nature optimistic people — their confidence in their ability to run a business leads them to start a company in the first place. The survey shows that despite external factors like the economy, entrepreneurs expect to succeed.

The 1,250 survey participants were less upbeat about the economy. Seventy percent said they're confident the economy will improve or stay the same over the next 12 months, down 4 percent from a survey taken in the second quarter.

The Kauffman Foundation is involved in research and other activities to support entrepreneurship. LegalZoom is a company that helps people and businesses create legal documents like wills and certificates of incorporation.

LENDING TO VETS

Five of the nation's biggest banks made the most Small Business Administration-supported loans for real estate to veterans in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the National Association of Development Companies, or NADCO. The trade association tallied loans in the SBA's Real Estate Advantage Loan Program.

Bank of America Corp. led the list with $32.2 million in loans, followed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. with $22.3 million, Wells Fargo & Co. with $22 million, Citigroup Inc. with $13.9 million and Key Corp. with $13.8 million.

NADCO represents non-profit development companies that are certified by the SBA to finance government-supported property loans.

ONLINE SEMINAR

SCORE, which gives free advice to small businesses, plans an online seminar about Every Door Direct Mail, the U.S. Postal Service's program to help small companies advertise locally. The seminar will be held Thursday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/kab22rs .

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