Asian American Hotel Owners (AAHOA) leaders met with members of Congress to discuss two legislative priorities. In recent months, discussions in Washington, D.C. have centered on eliminating the SBA 504 Loan Refinancing Program, which is scheduled to expire in September. AAHOA has asked Congress to make its first priority this year reauthorizing the program under the Small Business Jobs Act. Additionally, AAHOA asked lawmakers to remove some onerous program eligibility requirements that prevent many hoteliers and other small business owners from taking advantage of the SBA 504 program.
“We believe Congress needs to make the criteria simple,” explained Anurag Varma, AAHOA Legislative Counsel. “We want to say those who have received [SBA] loans all these years should still be able to get the loans.” Varma was referring to hard and fast rules that, for example, disqualify a borrower unless the borrower can certify that timely loan payments were made for the previous 12 months. Varma suggested that the loan underwriting criteria should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate alternative ways to demonstrate a borrower’s creditworthiness. The association also suggested special exemption for borrowers who miss a payment due to circumstances beyond their control, such as a bank failure.
“People on the Hill are more interested to hear our ideas about simplifying the process,” Varma said. “This is truly a costless idea and something Congress can get behind.”