The agency sponsors a variety of loan programs, including ones that target companies that are owned, operated and managed by ethnic minorities and women. Proposition 209 would probably bar such programs if they are administered by the state or local governments because the initiative prohibits consideration of race or gender in awarding government business. But because the SBA is a federal agency, it is beyond the reach of the initiative, meaning that its programs are not affected, at least directly, by the Supreme Court action this week.
Another lender still establishing itself in Los Angeles but already a source of hope for some entrepreneurs operating in economically depressed areas of the city is the Community Development Bank. Like the SBA, it is backed by federal money, and it intends to concentrate loans in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.