The 2009 SBA program sought to create more competition in floorplan financing -- which has been dominated by captive finance companies — by giving government backing to credit extended by banks.
But with a limit of $2 million, only 61 floorplan loans have been provided for a total of $61 million, said SBA spokesman Michael Stamler.
The number of loans is paltry compared with an SBA official's cautious estimate last year that the government would guarantee up to 4,000 loans.
The success of the new law "hinges on lenders and the SBA working together," said Marguerite Watanabe, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based auto finance consultant to lenders.
Anthony Wilkinson, president of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, predicted the SBA loan volume of $61 million would more than double under the new law.
"It's going to take some time," said Wilkinson, whose group represents banks and credit unions. "A lot of dealers wouldn't even apply because they needed more than $2 million, and that's one of the reasons for lack of lender participation."
He also said many big banks aren't staffed to monitor vehicle inventories.
The SBA plans to start making its guarantees for larger loans available in the next few weeks, said Stamler. The program is to last until September 2013.