South Florida marine industry meets with SBA official

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The Small Business Administration is traveling the country meeting with frustrated business owners and South Florida's boating industry vented its concerns in the latest stop in Miami.

Esther Vassar, national ombudsman and assistant administrator for regulatory enforcement fairness, heard from many small-business owners in the Sunshine State who are concerned about tight credit markets, red tape and complex regulations, the South Florida Business Journal reports.

Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida, brought his message about his organization's displeasure with a pilot program that offers government-guaranteed loans to finance inventory for eligible boat, auto, recreational vehicle and other dealerships.

As the economy began to stumble, most lenders stopped servicing the marine industry, leaving boat dealers with limited or no access to credit.

"The program has a lot of potential. However, a one-year pilot program is a deterrent to lender participation. Here we are, just getting a new program off the ground, and there is a September deadline staring us in the face," Herhold said. "Ms. Vassar was very receptive to our concerns and I believe she will look into an extension of this SBA pilot program."

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