The Fiscal Responsibility Act (aka debt ceiling deal) cuts $150M from SSBCI, impacts education, research, and innovation

The upshot of the debt ceiling deal recently approved by Congress is that all nondefense discretionary spending will remain at its current level of $638 billion in FY 2024, which begins October 1. Additionally, some funds were marked for recission, including $150 million from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). All jurisdictions that have been approved or have applied for SSBCI funding will not see a decrease in their funds, according to an email from Treasury regarding SSBCI. SSBCI incentive allocation funds and Formula Technical Assistance (TA) Grant Program allocations for Tribal governments, states, territories, and D.C. also will not be affected by the legislation. More complicated is the impact the deal will have on funding for research, innovation, and education.

SBA rules changes mean more opportunities, TBED orgs should take second look at SBA lending programs

The U.S. Small Business Administration finalized new rules that provide more opportunities to leverage the agency’s flagship lending programs to support economic development strategies. The most significant changes in the rules would allow more non-depository lenders (e.g., loan funds) to participate in SBA’s lending programs, make employee ownership transitions an eligible use of loan proceeds, and remove many of the existing underwriting criteria. These changes mean tech-based economic development organizations should consider becoming approved SBA lenders.

Fed finds fintech lenders may create more inclusive financial system

A new working paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia used loan-level data from two fintech lenders, Funding Circle and LendingClub, to assess how the companies’ pre-pandemic lending patterns differed from those of traditional banks. The report finds fintechs contribute to a “more inclusive” financial system, expanding credit to more companies and at a lower cost.

Recent Research: Did PPP actually save businesses or jobs?

A research team including members from MIT and the Federal Reserve Board assessed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to determine if the initiative was able to keep businesses from closing and people from becoming unemployed. The authors present the highlight finding, which has been covered in multiple publications, as indicating that only about 23-34 percent of PPP funds went to workers who would have lost their jobs otherwise. This rate of effectiveness implies a cost of $170,000-$257,000 per job-year[1] of employment. The outcome seems surprising, given the program’s requirement that at least 60 percent of funds be spent on payroll. A dive into the results and policy implications bears lessons for future emergency program design.

Some universities canceling student debt

In an unexpected turn of events, some college students around the country have been logging into their accounts to check on account balances and finding them canceled. Many institutions of higher education across the country have been taking advantage of federal assistance provided through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief funds (HEERF) to cancel student debt. HEERF I, II and III represent three programs that Congress appropriated to higher education to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including emergency financial grants to students.

Congress reveals COVID bill with $10 billion SSBCI

The U.S. House of Representatives is working through the coronavirus relief package in committee markups this week, and there are several provisions that could have a significant impact for regional innovation economies. The highest-profile of these is $10 billion for a new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. Reauthorizing this program has been a top priority for SSTI's Innovation Advocacy Council, as SSBCI was one of the federal government’s only sources of funding for equity investments in the past two decades.

SBA PPP loans approved in all states, Great Plains lead per capita distribution

SBA released data on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this week for all approved loan activity through April 13 and told banks Wednesday night that the program is nearly out of funds. The data show more than 1 million loans worth more than $247 million approved across all states and territories. While the average loan is $239,000, 70 percent of the loans are less than $150,000. On average, states are seeing 3.1 loans per 1,000 population and nearly $747,000 per 1,000 population. While Texas (88,434) has seen the most loans, many Great Plains states are leading in per capita terms, with North Dakota (10.8 per 1,000 population), Wyoming (9.9), Montana (9.7), Nebraska (9.6), and South Dakota (9.0) comprising the top five. State data is in the table below. Looking at NAICS subsectors, construction is receiving the most loans with nearly 14 percent of approved funds, followed by professional services and manufacturing (each at 12 percent). According to SBA data (xls), accommodations and food services accounted for nearly 20 percent of 7(a) loan (the parent program of the PPP) volume over the past three years, but are just 9 percent of the PPP approved PPP loan volume.

Student loan debt and delinquency rates rising as students continue to cover increasing higher education costs

Earning a college degree has long been touted as a prerequisite for getting a good job with the wages needed to support a middle class lifestyle, or better. However, as tuition rates have continued to rise across the country, so too has the burden of student loan debt.

Outstanding student loan debt increased by $20 billion from the second quarter of 2019 to a total of $1.5 trillion in the third quarter, according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s most recent quarterly report on household credit and debt. This amount — second only to mortgages at $9.4 trillion — accounted for nearly 11 percent of total household debt in 2019, increasing from roughly 4 percent in 2005. The most pronounced rise (37.8 percent) comes from people aged 18 to 29 — the age group for most college students — swelling from approximately 15 percent in 2005.  Not only has the total value of student loan debt increased, but so has its delinquency rates.

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