Which businesses in your area are receiving loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)? What financial institutions are making those loans? How many businesses receiving loans in the past 10 years have stayed open?

These are questions you can answer with the SBA’s 7a loan data, now available at NICAR. This update database includes loans approved through November of 2015. Journalists can also use 7a data to explore repayment of SBA loans by local businesses and find out what types of businesses are getting the loans. For example, the most common franchise to receive SBA 7a loans is Subway. The data can also help you investigate how the SBA works with state and local agencies to lend money to small businesses.

The most current data covers loans from 1990 to November 30, 2015. The SBA 7a database includes the name and address of the business getting the loan, franchise and industry codes, the bank lending the money, the amount loaned, and (where applicable) whether the loan was paid in full or charged off. Visit the database page to buy the data or read the documentation.

ABOUT THE 7A PROGRAM

The 7a program is the SBA’s most common loan program. It provides loans to small business owners who can’t obtain financing through traditional channels. The program operates through private-sector lenders who provide loans that are, in turn, guaranteed by the SBA. The SBA 7a program itself has no funds for direct lending or grants.

DATA FORMAT

The SBA 7a dataset comes in one tab-delimited text file, easily imported or linked in Access and other database managers. If you’d like something different, we’ll do our best to help you out. Give us a call at 573-884-7711 or email [email protected]

GETTING THE DATA FROM THE SBA

Every fall the NICAR Data Library goes through a somewhat lengthy process to acquire the 7a data from the SBA. Although the SBA distributes the data in Excel (a pretty straightforward format compared to what we’re used to), the FOIA usually takes months and we often have to appeal a denial of our request for a fee waiver. The SBA normally charges $250 for the data. We’ve always been granted a waiver, but that doesn’t stop the SBA from trying to deny it year after year.