AS Small Business Credit Initiative Application still in review by feds
This past Friday, Governor Lolo M. Moliga met with officials of the US Department of Treasury to discuss the territory’s Small Business Credit Initiative Application, which is still being reviewed.
The meeting included Clifton Kellogg, Program Director for the State Small Business Credit Initiative within the US Department of Treasury and David Rixter who is the Outreach Manager and the contact person at the US Treasury for all SSBCI programs.
According to the press release, Kellogg thanked the Governor for the opportunity to meet with him personally and assured Lolo that American Samoa’s application is being reviewed and many of the questions posed by his staff have been responded to clearly by the American Samoa Department of Commerce (DOC).
“American Samoa has come up with a truly innovative SSBCI format that is already gaining attention from the White House and other States,” the press release stated, noting “the SSBCI Program is only three years old and already states have different approaches and varying strategies in program content.”
The media release does not detail what American Samoa’s “truly innovative SSBCI format” is.
Samoa News should point out that the application being reviewed is a revised application, submitted in December 2013, after the two local banks, Bank of Hawaii and ASB- ANZ, were reluctant to participate in the initial SSBCI program guidelines — mainly the Loan Guarantee Program, which would have been only for 50% of a commercial loan, exposing the banks to risks with the balance of the loan principle if the borrower defaulted. Under the Lolo Administration, the DOC is the lead on the application.
The federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was created under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 in response to concerns that small businesses have been unable to access capital that would allow them to create jobs.
During last Friday’s meeting, Kellogg also informed Lolo that Rixter has been a strong advocate for American Samoa’s SSBCI Application and he and the DOC director, Keniseli Lafaele, are collaborating to ensure that all questions and issues of concern are comprehensively addressed.
The SSBCI program director in particular noted that American Samoa will be held accountable like all the States to ensure that full compliance with the four criteria is met; that is, American Samoa must have established capacity 1) to handle the money, 2) to underwrite the loans, 3) for effective evaluation, and 4) to comply with all requirements, including the marketing of the program and the needed outreach.
The Governor assured Kellogg that since the onset of his administration he has made a commitment to improve the American Samoa Government’s integrity and image with the federal agencies by making sure that all federal program requirements are complied with, without compromise. The same attention will be placed on ensuring that all requirements of the SSBCI Program will receive full compliance from his government, he said.
Lolo thanked all who are involved with the application to ensure all issues of concern are resolved, including John Clyburn and Mike Davis of InTek for the technical support and expert guidance in the development of American Samoa’s SSBCI Application and ensuring that our application is moved through the US Department of Treasury review process expeditiously.
Source: media release ASG