January 15, 2014

Obama nominates Contreras-Sweet to head SBA

Jan. 16, 2014 – President Obama on Wednesday nominated Maria Contreras-Sweet, a community bank owner in California, as head of the Small Business Administration.

"We look forward to working with Ms. Contreras-Sweet upon confirmation and with the SBA as it continues its work to help facilitate, promote and encourage credit unions' participation in its loan programs," NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger said.

Contreras-Sweet's confirmation as SBA administrator would complete the president's second-term cabinet. She would take the vacant seat last held by Karen Mills, who left the post in August to take a job at Harvard University.

The Washington Post reports that Contreras-Sweet served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency between 1999 and 2003, as well as served on the board of California Blue Cross. She founded the Latino-owned ProAmérica Bank, a community bank, in 2006.

Credit unions can work with the SBA to maximize their small-business lending. Credit unions' member business lending authority is capped by statute to 12.25 percent of assets. Every loan dollar a credit union issues that is backed by the SBA is excluded from that cap.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee again favorably reported out the president's nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin as Treasury deputy secretary. The committee first approved of her nomination Dec. 13. She now awaits action by the full Senate.