May 29, 2013
Best Practices: Changes to SBA Form 912
by Starfield & Smith
The SBA Statement of Personal History (SBA Form 912) has recently undergone some significant changes. The changes made are significant because they deal with the SBA loan applicant’s criminal history and potentially allow the Lender additional leeway, but also more responsibility, in determining whether to make a loan to the applicant.
The changes made center around Questions 7, 8, and 9. Question 7 previously asked “Are you presently under indictment, on parole, or probation?” The updated 912 form, Question 7 now asks, “Are you presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction?” While mostly remaining the same, the updated 912 asks a more broad question regarding criminal charges which requires the applicant to reveal if any criminal charges are currently being faced, not only a current indictment, parole or probation.
The changes to question 8 are the most significant modifications to the updated 912 Form. The previous version asks, “Have you ever been charged with, and/or arrested for any criminal offense other than a motor vehicle violation?” As written, the previous version requires that any instance of ever being charged or arrested be disclosed to the SBA. This previous form required that if you were arrested for or charged with a criminal offense (even mistakenly), it was mandatory that it be disclosed, and upon disclosure, it was within the SBA’s discretion to approve or deny an application based on the charges alone, or for minor offenses that were remote in time. Often loan applicants were subjected to significant delays in their loan application processing in order for these minor matters to be cleared by SBA. The updated version of Question 8 now asks, “Have you been arrested in the past six months for any criminal offense?” This six month look-back is a significantly narrower window of inquiry than the previous question 8, and should considerably streamline the personal character inquiry for both loan applicants and lenders as applicants will no longer have to disclose arrests or charges for which they were not convicted that occurred more than 6 months ago.
Question 9 has essentially remained the same between the two versions. Question 9 asks if the applicant has ever been convicted or plead guilty (in any form) to a criminal offense, other than a minor vehicle violation. This question goes to the heart of the character test as it looks to actual criminal convictions and, in a justice system that operates on the fundamental premise of a presumption of innocence, is a more relevant and fair inquiry.
The updates to the SBA Form 912 Statement of Personal History will greatly streamline the personal character inquiry for both loan applicants and lenders.
For more information about the revised SBA Form 912, contact Tim at 215-542-7070 or at TDLauro@starfieldsmith.com.