Small Business:

Improving SBA Loan Collateral Liquidations Would Increase Recoveries

RCED-92-5: Published: Dec 19, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 1992.

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Pursuant to congressional request, GAO reviewed the Small Business Administration's (SBA) management of its section 7(a) general business loan portfolio, focusing on: (1) SBA liquidation of loan collateral for defaulted loans; (2) the adequacy and valuation of collateral; and (3) SBA and private lenders' collateral recovery efforts.

GAO found that: (1) in the three regions reviewed, SBA lost about $153.5 million of $216.8 million in liquidated 7(a) general business loans due to insufficient collateral and liquidating actions that did not maximize recoveries; (2) the estimated market value of the collateral for those loans dropped 68 percent, from an initial market value of $428.4 million to an estimated liquidation value of $136.1 million; (3) although the liquidation rate of collateral is generally less than the market value, such factors as poor economic conditions and collateral that either declines in value or is used during the course of business further contributes to this decline; (4) SBA did routinely verify the existence of collateral throughout the term of the loan, timely inventory collateral at liquidation, or ensure that businesses had adequate liquidation plans; and (5) private lenders of SBA-guaranteed loans had little incentive to maximize recovery, since SBA generally made guaranteed payment to lenders before complete collateral recovery.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: To provide assistance to small businesses, while at the same time protecting the government's, and ultimately the taxpayer's, financial interests, Congress may wish to consider mandating that SBA require stronger collateral, in amounts that reflect anticipated declines in value, at the time a loan is made or guaranteed. This may be accomplished by discounting the value of collateral when loans are made to reflect their liquidation value instead of their market value. However, requiring additional collateral will preclude some potential borrowers who have repayment ability from getting a loan.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has no action planned on the matters for consideration.

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: When a loan is placed in liquidation, the Administrator, SBA, should require that: (1) collateral be specifically identified, inventoried, and valued in a timely manner, within 2 weeks; and (2) liquidation plans be prepared by, or in the case of private lenders, approved by, SBA. Those plans should specify the liquidation steps to be taken, set time frames, and estimate costs.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA SOP have been amended to require that the borrower be visited by the lender within 10 working days after the loan is placed in liquidation status. Also, these SOP have been revised to cover all aspects of lenders' liquidation plans, including specification of liquidation steps, timeframes, and estimated costs.

    Recommendation: To maximize recoveries on collateral, the Administrator, SBA, should take action to ensure that SBA field offices comply with existing loan liquidation and acquired property procedures.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA SOP have been amended to require on-going contact with liquidating lenders, with monthly reviews by SBA liquidation officers and bimonthly reviews by SBA liquidation line supervisors. Besides, an SBA loan officer must be in attendance at all public sales conducted by the lender. Also, a copy of the auctioneer's accounting must be sent to SBA.

    Recommendation: In the absence of independent verification, the Administrator, SBA, should require loan applicants to provide additional supporting information, such as tax information for real estate or sales receipts for machinery and equipment, to confirm the existence and value of collateral.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA amended its SOP to require loan applicants to furnish SBA an itemized list of collateral showing the manufacturer's name, make, model, serial number, and/or pertinent identification data.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the initial loan collateral offered by a loan applicant exists and is properly valued, the Administrator, SBA, should take action to have collateral independently verified and valued.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA amended its SOP to require loan applicants to furnish SBA an itemized list of collateral showing the manufacturer's name, make, model, serial number, and/or pertinent identification data. It also requires the lender/SBA to request data on collateral additions prior to approval of the loan application.

    Recommendation: To maximize recoveries on private lender liquidations of SBA loans, the Administrator, SBA, should revise and update the loan liquidation and acquired property procedures to include adequate monitoring and oversight of those activities. At a minimum, this should include SBA prior approval and active monitoring of private lender liquidation actions.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA SOP have been amended to include the following additional requirements. It requires that a loan officer be in attendance at all public sales conducted by the lender. Also, a copy of the auctioneer's accounting must be sent to SBA. Failure of the participant to furnish the required documentation may be justification to disallow lender-conducted liquidations or auctioneer-conducted auctions.

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