WASHINGTON - The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) 2007 “Year in Review” report states that the agency has made significant progress in its reform efforts. The report says that, upon his confirmation in summer 2006, Administrator Steve Preston initiated agency reform. In fall 2006, he led restructuring of SBA’s disaster loan process to focus on fast response, customer service, employee accountability, and efficiency. The Gulf Coast hurricane loan backlog quickly began to drop, from 94,026 in August to 28,687 by the end of December. Response times were cut to a fraction of what they were before the reforms.

With the disaster program rapidly improving, Preston ended 2006 laying plans for a broader reform agenda, a two-year plan to overhaul agency operations.

Looking back on 2007, SBA said it is clear the agency has made substantial progress. Internal and external operations are more effective and efficient, the report says, with every SBA department taking on new challenges, goals, and initiatives.

According to the report, disaster victims today receive better customer service and more timely assistance. Lenders and borrowers find the loan process simpler and quicker due to streamlined processes and improved support. Urban and rural area entrepreneurs have greater access to SBA resources, and military community members have a new loan product to help them start or expand businesses. Today, federal agencies work harder to reach their small business procurement goals because there is an SBA scorecard tracking their progress.

SBA said its accomplishments in 2007 enable the agency to more effectively foster small business ownership and help people quickly get back on their feet after disasters. Looking forward, the agency said 2007 was a turning point, indicating positive results to come in 2008.

For more information on SBA programs and services, visit www.sba.gov.

Publication date:01/01/2008