Small Business Lending Fund Bill Promises Oversight
A bill that would provide oversight of the new $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, including putting an inspector general in charge, was introduced this week.
The Small Business Lending Fund Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 1387) would place the fund under the jurisdiction of the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Fund. The legislators that introduced the bill are concerned that banks that participated in TARP will use SBLF monies to refinance out of TARP rather than extend loans to small businesses.
Currently, numerous financial institutions that received TARP funds through the Capital Purchase Program and the Community Development Capital Initiative are eligible to exit TARP and its oversight by refinancing into the SBLF, according to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who introduced the bill Wednesday. Under the proposed legislation, oversight reports would be required on a quarterly basis.
“Congress and the president have a duty to hire a stern investigator to expose accounting gimmicks by banks and the Treasury Department in order to bring an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts,” McHenry said.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) also co-introduced H.R. 1387. The Small Business Jobs Act was signed by President Obama on Sept. 27, 2010.
The SBA said it was able to approve nearly $1 billion in loans after the Small Business Jobs Act was signed because it provided funding for increased loan guarantees and reduced fees.