"We're increasingly concerned by the SBA loan programs," says Molly Brogan, vice president of public affairs for the National Small Business Association. "There was a quick extension, but we're worried that the money is going to run out soon. The more this program goes up and down and up and down, the harder it is for people to look toward the SBA as a source of capital."

Meanwhile, small businesses are frustrated as "too-big-too-fail" banks and insurers such as Citigroup, Bank of America and AIG have received hundreds of billions of bailout dollars through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

The Treasury Department has extended TARP through October, and in doing so has announced vague intentions to use some of the funds to speed up small-business lending. But the NSBA wants definite plans. And it's hard to ignore the fact that the Obama administration hasn't reinstated the SBA administrator as a Cabinet position, as the Clinton administration did.

"We've heard a lot of talk about the idea of using TARP funds," the National Small Business Association's Brogan says. "We started talking about this back in April, and nothing's happening on it. There's nothing concrete, and nothing's being done. Moving on something like that is something that needs to happen."

-- Reported by Carmen Nobel in Boston.

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