The National Association of Realtors® Washington offices got a visit today from Small Business Administrator and presidential Cabinet member Maria Contreras-Sweet. She joined NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun for an industry event underscoring SBA’s importance to the credit market and their value to small businesses.
Dr. Yun noted the difficulty facing businesses during the post-recession credit freeze and thanked Administrator Contreras-Sweet for the SBA’s work to make credit available to small businesses.
Administrator Contreras-Sweet noted SBA’s ongoing efforts to put the technology into place to improve service for small businesses. In particular, she mentioned that SBA’s commitment to processing loan applications online, as opposed to on paper, is making it faster than ever to apply for an SBA loan.
She also reminded the audience of SBA’s role providing disaster loans to businesses that are physically or economically harmed during a crisis, as well as non-financial assistance, like mentoring, that is available to businesses.
The event was moderated by NAR member Lou Nimkoff. Lou is vice chair of NAR’s Commercial Legislation and Regulatory Advisory Board, and chairman of the CCIM Institute’s Government Affairs Subcommittee. Lou welcomed the SBA Administrator in his opening remarks and encouraged a robust dialogue between Administrator Contreras-Sweet and Dr. Yun on the commercial real estate industry and lending issues.
Nimkoff and Dr. Yun were also joined by Linda Reilly, chief of SBA’s 504 Loan Program, and Bob Carpenter of the SBA’s 7(a) Program Branch. They answered questions from the audience about their respective offices and the value that their loan programs have to small businesses.
Realtor® members largely operate as small business owners. According to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Real Estate Firms, 80 percent of real estate firms have a single office, typically with two full-time real estate licensees. Firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million in 2014.
Realtor® commercial members surveyed by NAR indicated that they believe there are bright days ahead. According to NAR’s firm profile, 75 percent expect their profitability (net income) to improve over the next year.
For those who need additional assistance, the SBA’s message at NAR’s Washington office was clear: We’re here to help!