The Small Business Administration is seeking public input on a proposed regulation aimed at boosting oversight and risk assessment for lenders providing government-backed loans to small-business owners.

The rule, which was unveiled in October, includes a risk-rating system that would allow the agency to better gauge the level of oversight required for individual lenders. It would also improve the ability of the agency's Office of Credit Risk Management to enforce lending program requirements, agency officials said.

"We are committed to transparency, and there is no better way to demonstrate it than soliciting public participation," SBA Administrator Steven Preston said in a statement.

He said input from small-business owners and lenders was crucial for helping the agency refine its loan oversight and risk assessment procedures.

A series of public hearings in eight cities begins this week in San Francisco and ends in Chicago on April 18.