The Small Business Administration is asking Congress to increase 7(a) general business loans by 9%, to $8.5 billion in fiscal 1998, SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez told a Senate panel Monday.

The recently sworn-in Ms. Alvarez, testifying Wednesday before the Senate Small Business Committee, noted that the SBA's budget request includes $18 million to improve portfolio monitoring as the agency shifts servicing and liquidation of 7(a) loans to private-sector lenders.

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