Car dealers eligible for SBA loans

Ford trucks at a dealership in Hudson, Wisconsin.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Small businesses will be glad to hear that credit is about to get easier. The Small Business Administration will start making loans to companies that used to be too big to qualify. From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Seventy-thousand more businesses are now eligible for government-guaranteed bank loans. That's because the upper limits on net worth and annual income have been raised temporarily, which will allow one particular group to qualify.

Eric Zarnikow is with the SBA:

Eric Zarnikow: Clearly there's an impact or a benefit to the auto dealers, RV dealers, auto suppliers.

Most car dealers make way more income than the typical small business. So under the old rules, they didn't qualify for SBA loans.

And right now, many need those loans, says Mike Martin. He owns two GM dealerships in Manassas, Va.:

Mike Martin: I think the real fear that a lot of dealers have is availability of credit. That is probably what keeps most of us up at night.

Dealers have been squeezed hard by the credit crunch. They need to borrow to buy the vehicles on their car lots. And, Martin says, although thousands of dealerships may close as GM and Chrysler restructure, the ones that survive will have to upgrade and retool. And they'll need ready access to credit for that as well.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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