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Fix the Small Business Administration
Name: Carolyn Anderson, 61
Profession: Adjunct faculty, Indiana University
Location: South Bend, Ind.

"I worked for LaSalle Bank, a regional lending institution in Chicago and Michigan, for four years until it recently was acquired by Bank of America. I worked in the bank's Small Business Administration lending department, which was closed down during the transition.

I can attest to the importance of small businesses in building this economy. They are like children who need to be nurtured so that they can grow to have a successful future. Small businesses are the future of the U.S. and they cannot grow in this poor lending environment.

But fewer SBA-guaranteed loans were issued last year than in 2007. And the agency is completely underfunded.

But you can't blame the banks for the fall-off in SBA lending. When banks stop lending to their best and biggest customers, the smaller ones certainly don't get attention any longer.

Something needs to be done to turn this situation around. I don't have a precise solution, but I do know that the SBA is a well-established entity and despite criticism, I know there are hard-working people in there who care about community businesses.

My hope is that the new administration takes advantage of this wonderful tool. Although the SBA may need to change its focus to be used to its fullest extent, Obama should ensure that it is at the table when major decisions are made." - as told to Emily Maltby

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Last updated April 29 2009: 6:43 AM ET
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