After the Small Business Administration (SBA) was widely criticized for its performance following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the agency took steps to reform its Disaster Loan Program. Congress also enacted the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act of 2008 (Act), which places new requirements on SBA to better ensure it is prepared to respond to catastrophic disasters. This testimony discusses SBA's progress in addressing certain requirements of the Act and recommendations in a 2009 GAO report to improve the Disaster Loan Program. In completing this statement, GAO reviewed and updated, as appropriate, the July 2009 report, Small Business Administration: Additional Steps Should Be Taken to Address Reforms to the Disaster Loan Program and Improve the Application Process for Future Disasters (GAO-09-755). In that report, GAO recommended that SBA should fulfill the Act's region-specific marketing and outreach requirements; complete its annual report to Congress; issue an updated Disaster Recovery Plan; develop an implementation plan for remaining requirements; and develop procedures to further improve the application process for the Disaster Loan Program. SBA generally agreed with the recommendations and stated the agency's plan to incorporate them into its ongoing efforts to implement the Act and improve the application process.
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