WASHINGTON — In just under a year's time, the Small BusinessAdministration's Patriot Express pilot loan initiative has approvedmore than $150 million in loan guarantees to nearly 1,500 veteransand their spouses, the agency said.

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Launched on June 28, 2007, Patriot Express builds on the morethan $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-ownedbusinesses, and the counseling assistance and procurement supportit provides each year to more than 100,000 veterans,service-disabled veterans and Reserve members, according toSBA.

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A number of credit unions have been approved to offer the loans,which can be used for start-up, expansion, equipment purchases,working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estatepurchases.

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Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA's maximumguaranty of up to 85% for loans of $150,000 or less and up to 75%for loans over $150,000 and up to $500,000. For loans above$350,000, lenders are required to take all availablecollateral.

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