Computer foulup slows SBA's Katrina relief

Small Business Administration has written only one check for Katrina emergency. SBA workers say the new computer system is causing paperwork that once took 30 minutes to process to now take hours

The Small Business Administration has only issued one check out of more than 28,000 emergency applications from the hurricane zone, according to USA Today. CNN relates:

The newspaper reports that SBA workers say the new computer system is causing paperwork that once took 30 minutes to process to now take hours. The newspaper also reports that the network that connects inspectors with their offices is frequently down and that workers in the field can't read the screens of their tablet-style computers in the glare of Gulf Coast sunlight.

SBA Administrator Hector Barreto defended the agency's new computers last week in congressional testimony, saying the $23.7 million system was state of the art, more secure and an improvement over the system it replaced.

But the newspaper reports that since the new computers went into service in December, there have been 41,578 loan applications have been received. Of those, 14,935 have been fully processed and 3,618 approved — a rate of 24 percent, or less than half the approval rate under the old system.