Karen Mills departing as SBA leader
BY JOYCE M. ROSENBERG Associated Press
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 6:54 AM
NEW YORK - Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration while it focused on helping small companies recover from the Great Recession, is stepping down.
Under her leadership, the SBA brought more than 1,000 community banks to its lending programs and it won a commitment from 13 big banks to increase their lending to small businesses over three years.
The agency also regained its status as a Cabinet-level agency - a status it had lost during the Bush administration.
Mills joins a number of officials - including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - to leave the administration. Many high-level officials leave the government after a president's first term.
Mills has served as SBA administrator since April 2009. Mills says she will remain in her position until a successor is appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
Mills joined the SBA while the U.S. was in recession and suffering from the consequences brought on by the financial crisis.
In 2008, before the financial crisis, the SBA guaranteed $12.7 billion of its most common loans, 7(a) loans. That amount plunged in 2009 to $9.2 billion, and in the year ended last Sept. 30, had recovered to $15.1 billion.
"Mills stepped into the position in a turbulent time and pushed the agency forward on these and other small-business priorities," said Todd McCracken, CEO of the National Small Business Association.
Under Mills, the SBA took a holistic approach toward helping small businesses.
She said it wasn't enough for the government to just guarantee loans for companies that could get them. Businesses that weren't strong enough to get financing needed counseling and education so they could succeed - and create jobs to help the country recover from the recession.
"It turns out, if you give them the money without also some other tools, it is not as effective," Mills said in April. "We have data that shows that if you are a small business who has a long-term counselor, you get better sales, you get more longevity, you hire more people."
Original Print Headline: SBA chief says she'll leave administration