6.24.10: New Loan Poolers Will Help Jump Start Secondary Market for 504 Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the first nine loan pool originators authorized by the agency to assemble and sell pools of 504 program first mortgage loans, a major step to jump starting a secondary market that should make fixed-asset financing more widely available for small businesses. The new program was approved under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Prior to the recent disruption in the credit market, a private secondary market for these loans existed, but it has not revived as the economy has started to rebound. The SBA expects this new program to breathe life into that secondary market and improve access to credit for small businesses by providing a resource that can help boost liquidity to small business lenders.

“With the resources provided in the Recovery Act, we have engineered a turnaround in its SBA lending, putting nearly $30 billion in the hands of small businesses across the country,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “This added support to re-launch the 504 first mortgage secondary market builds on that success and will help leverage even more capital for small businesses to support their growth and create new jobs.”

Under the program, the SBA will provide a government guarantee on pools of portions of eligible 504 first mortgage loans assembled by approved pool originators to be sold to third-party investors. Lenders will retain at least 15% of each individual loan, pool originators will assume 5% of the risk, and the SBA will guarantee the remaining 80%.

Typically, a 504 project includes three elements: a loan (or first mortgage) secured with a senior lien from a private-sector lender covering up to 50% of the project cost, a second mortgage secured with a junior lien from a Certified Development Company (backed by a 100% SBA-guaranteed debenture) covering up to 40% of the cost, and a contribution of at least 10% equity from the small business borrower.

Under the new program, portions of the senior liens are pooled by pool originators and sold to investors in the secondary market. To be eligible to be included in a pool, the first mortgage must be associated with a 504 loan disbursed on or after February 17, 2009. The program will be in place until February 16, 2011 or until $3 billion in new pools are created, whichever occurs first.

The pool originators approved so far are

• Bank of America, N. A. of New York, New York;

• Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. of New York, New York;

• Citizens Bank of Elizabethton, Tennessee;

• Coastal Securities, Inc. of Houston, Texas;

• Community South Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee;

• Fidelity Bank of Covington, Georgia;

• Meadows Bank of Las Vegas, Nevada;

• Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A. of Salt Lake City, Utah; and

• Voyager Bank of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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