New Administrator for the SBA

Posted by: Jeremy Quittner on December 19, 2008

I was happy to learn that Karen Gordon Mills is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to head the Small Business Administration. I talked to Mills in September when I was working on a story about why it’s so difficult for small businesses to act as a cohesive political bloc. She impressed me with her depth of knowledge about entrepreneurs and the role of some start-ups in job creation.

During one of our conversations, she had this to say:

“It is very important that we have a more granular understanding, particularly at the federal policy level, about the voice of small business. It is not a one-size-fits-all category. There are differences in small businesses. A restaurant needs capital, too, but a different kind, and it needs a different approach from the Small Business Administration. The SBA needs to be evolved enough to recognize that a lot of business will come from high-growth small businesses and, once again, we can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Here’s a link to my story, which appeared in BusinessWeek Small Biz in October. A podcast with Mills, in which we discussed some of these issues, is embedded in the story.

Reader Comments

Prof. Samuel D. Bornstein

December 19, 2008 7:31 PM

A letter to the new SBA Administrator.

Dear Ms. Mills,

I would like to bring shocking and compelling information to your attention that relates to small business, foreclosures, and job loss.

I am Professor Samuel D. Bornstein, and I testified before the Committee on April 16, 2008. I testified on the topic, "The Impact of the Credit Crunch on Small Business". I testified that there was a connection between small business and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis and the "toxic" mortgage crisis. In order to confirm my research, I enlisted the aid of the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) who ran a survey for its national membership.

The results of the NASE survey provides stunning and compelling evidence that the Self-Employed and Micro-Businesses have a significant portion of the "toxic" mortgages and hold the key to a solution to the Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis. The results of this survey highlight the fact that small business should be addressed to mitigate the foreclosures and losses on the defaulting “Troubled Assets” in the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This topic of the 2nd Wave of Foreclosures has been recognized by the mainstream media.

On Sunday, 12/14/08, CBS 60 Minutes aired a segment "The Mortgage Meltdown".

Scott Pelley's piece on the 2nd Wave of Foreclosures overlooked a critical fact.
The segment missed the fact that this next wave of Foreclosures in 2009 Will Take Self-Employed and Smaller Businesses who have these TOXIC mortgages. In fact, ALT-A, Option ARMS, Interest-Only, the TOXIC Mortgages that are considered the "Troubled" assets in TARP were specifically marketed to the self-employed who fell prey to them.

The upcoming defaults on these risky "Toxic Mortgages" will result in an increase in foreclosures. But worse, once these small businesses fail, the resulting loss of jobs will cause millions to add to the ranks of the unemployed. Note that self-employed business owners (16.2 million according to the SBA) employ between 1-10 employees.

The NASE survey at www.nase.org , was the first to provide compelling evidence of small business involvement in the upcoming toxic mortgage crisis. The survey was created by Prof. Samuel D. Bornstein and Jung I. Song, CPA of BornsteinSong Consultants in Oakhurst,NJ,and was conducted by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) which issued a Press Release on November 21, 2008.

According to this survey, it is estimated that 3,709,800 small business owners hold Alt-A and other toxic mortgages, and 1,279,800 are already delinquent as they have missed one to three or more monthly mortgage payments at mid-November, before the expected Resets that are scheduled to begin in 4th Quarter 2008 through 2012.

These small business owners will be at-risk of payment shock and default as their monthly mortgage payments skyrocket. Small business owners were especially targeted for these Alt-A loans which required little or no documentation of income which appealed to many small business owners who previously were unable to qualify.

The resulting defaults will be the cause of the upcoming second tsunami wave of foreclosures that will dwarf the subprime crisis and will take many homeowners and small business owners.

I would be happy to discuss the implications of the NASE Survey, since I created it and NASE ran it to its national membership. Please see the NASE website www.nase.org under NASE NEWS for the Press Release, my Commentary, and the Toxic Mortgage Survey.

Thank you,

Samuel D. Bornstein
Professor of Accounting & Taxation
Kean University, School of Business, Union, NJ

Bala Subramanian

December 25, 2008 6:18 AM

The best way to avoid this crisis is to provide a special fund from the TARP to create solutions to the needs of the market place for Green jobs promised by the new administration. GSA can make this Small business only sourcing and prevent a major financial crisis and help stimulate the economy

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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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