Compiled by Don Lee, Times staff writer

SBA Fastrak Program: The U.S. Small Business Administration, trying to encourage lenders to make a greater number of smaller SBA loans, has launched the Fastrak Program.

The new program, announced this week by SBA Administrator Philip Lader, streamlines the application process for small-business borrowers seeking loans of less than $100,000. The program allows participating lenders to use their own documentation and procedures, and to apply an SBA guarantee to a loan without prior review by the SBA.

In return, the lender agrees to limit the maximum loan to $100,000 and to accept a maximum guarantee of 50%. The normal guarantee percentage on loans under $100,000 is 90%. The lower guarantee, the SBA says, will allow the agency to approve more loans at a lower cost to the government.

It's unclear how effective the program will be in Southern California, where SBA lenders have resisted making smaller loans in favor of larger loans for real estate--which bankers consider safer but also more profitable. The Fastrak program is in addition to SBA's low-documentation program, which also streamlines the process for SBA loans under $100,000.

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