WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a hearing of the Senate Small Business Committee today, Ranking Member Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) questioned the impact the new $30 billion Treasury Small Business Lending Fund, which passed as part of the Small Business Jobs Act on September 16, 2010, will have on small business lending opportunities.  Snowe, who opposed the bill last year, continued to express serious misgivings about the Lending Fund’s propensity to spur job creation.

“As Ranking Member of this Committee, I know firsthand there is no more urgent imperative than job creation in our country.  We have now endured more than 27 months of unemployment over 8 percent, and we cannot allow these persistently high levels of unemployment to become the new normal,” said Snowe.  “We must continue to seek ways to create a better climate for small businesses across the country, and this sentiment was the framework from which we developed the Small Business Jobs Act.  In fact, the Act includes several of our Committee’s longstanding priorities – like increasing the maximum loan limits for the SBA’s 7(a), 504, and microloan programs, and expanding export technical assistance and trade promotion.”

“However, I continue to have serious misgivings about the impact of this new $30 billion lending fund, which were underscored in a report issued last week by Treasury’s Inspector General’s Office suggesting lackluster interest in the program.  In fact, as of April 18th, a mere 626 lending institutions out of more than 7,000 nationwide had applied to participate and 64 percent of the funds requested were from TARP recipients.  It seems a program intended to help small businesses grow and prosper is proving largely to be a new TARP refinancing program.  Small businesses need real relief, and they need it now,” said Snowe.

To view Senator Snowe's remarks expressing concern about the Lending Fund, please click here.