SBA’s ARC loan money remains out of reach for truckers

| 8/25/2009

For nearly 10 weeks now, small-business truckers nationwide have been trying unsuccessfully to obtain an America’s Recovery Capital – or ARC loan – through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

So far none of the applicants Land Line has interviewed have been approved for an ARC loan. Some have been unable to find a lender in their area that is participating in the program, while others have found a participating lender, only to be turned away because they aren’t an existing customer. 

Approximately 91 percent of the $336 million set aside for this program remains untouched because few lenders are participating in the ARC loan program.

Some small-business truckers have turned in their paperwork only to find out they need a Data Universal Numbering System – or DUNS – number to complete their ARC loan application.

A DUNS number through Dun & Bradstreet is required for all businesses applying for a federal grant or loan program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA. 

While the DUNS number is free and can be obtained over the phone or via the Internet, those applying for an ARC loan must also have a credit score, which is also generated through D&B. 

Some truckers who contacted Land Line were confused about who pays for the required credit report needed for the ARC loan because while D&B offers the DUNS number for free, there is usually a fee for their credit-building services.

SBA Spokesman Michael Stamler said the SBA has an agreement with D&B that allows small businesses applying for an SBA loan to obtain a free credit report. Click here for instructions.

“The borrower doesn’t pay; nor does the lender. (The) SBA pays.” Stamler said.

Neal Gordon, who is the principal of the Business Borrowers Alliance, is currently assisting 33 customers with their ARC loan application packages. He said the SBA is looking at a “blended score” to determine whether an applicant is “worthy of an ARC loan.”

“They are using a liquid credit score, which is generated through the D&B number, and they are also using the personal credit score of the borrower, to come up with the blended credit score to determine whether someone is worthy of an ARC loan,” Gordon told Land Line on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Gordon said the ARC loan process has been an “extremely challenging one” for many of the customers he has been trying to guide through this application process. He said one applicant finally received word from the SBA that she had been approved for an ARC loan only to find out her lender had changed its mind about participating in the program.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer