"Tragic" best describes the treatment of Imre Corp. by the SBA. As an evolving technological firm, we look forward to the same type of application and can only hope that some top governnment officials read your excellent article and straighten out this mess. When America's economic future depends on innovation more than at any previous time, a lack of cooperation between government and new businesses could actually remove the precarious position of leadership we enjoy in the world today.
In the case of Imre, if the loan application was so well documented and the company so well staffed, why couldn't Rainier National Bank make the loan without an SBA guaranty? A policy against loans to new start-ups is not appropriate to the conditions of today. There are criteria available to make rational judgments of new ventures. The banks that learn these new tricks will be the lenders of tomorrow.
INC. replies: Lynn Berry, Imre's loan officer at the Ballard office of the Rainier National Bank, said that she approached her superiors about the possibility of making the loan without an SBA guaranty. She was told that, as a matter of policy, Rainier does not make unguaranteed loans to start-up companies. Whether or not that policy is misguided is ultimately for Rainier to decide.