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Q: How can I remove a former partner's name from a Small Business Administration loan for which we both signed personal guarantees? The partner has not worked for the company for four years, but the loan restrictions bar her from transferring her shares to me. She can't pay off half the debt, which is what the lender wants. --R.S., New York

A: The terms of an SBA loan are negotiable if the borrower's circumstances change during the life of the loan, says David J. Hall, SBA public affairs specialist. If your lender is being difficult, it may be because of concerns about your company's cash flow. In that case, you may need to offer new collateral or talk to your banker about refinancing the existing debt and changing the loan terms. Hall suggests that you consider finding a new guarantor to substitute for your former partner.

Your lender should work with you so you can repay the loan and your company can continue growing. If it won't, it might be time to find a more small business-friendly lender.

By Karen Klein

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