Federal Reserve Convenes Stakeholders, Addresses Small Business Financing Needs

By McFarland, Christiana | Nation's Cities Weekly, July 19, 2010 | Go to article overview

Federal Reserve Convenes Stakeholders, Addresses Small Business Financing Needs


McFarland, Christiana, Nation's Cities Weekly


Small businesses face a host of hurdles accessing the credit they need to pay employees, fill orders, take on new customers, innovate, and stay viable. On July 12, the Federal Reserve convened a forum of national key decision-makers from the public, private and nonprofit sectors in Washington, D.C., to address the immediate and longer-term credit needs of small businesses.

"Small businesses are central to creating jobs in our economy ... but their formation and growth depend critically on access to credit," said Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve System. "We must seek an understanding of the many dimensions of the financing challenges of small businesses and a solution that, like small businesses themselves, is not one-size-fits-all. Our success requires collaboration among the federal government, community develop financing institutions, banks, small businesses and trade groups, government agencies and other public, private and nonprofit entities."

This capstone forum comes on the heels of 40 meetings across the country hosted by the Federal Reserve System's Community Affairs Offices this year. The forum and the national meetings uncovered key themes about the credit environment of small businesses, including:

* Factors impacting the supply of small business credit, such as tighter bank underwriting standards, resource constraints on lending, impact of regulatory guidance and utilization of alternative funding sources.

* Factors impacting the demand for small business credit, such as reduced credit equity, reduced confidence, a need for additional technical assistance and government contracting and entrepreneurship.

* Significant credit gaps that have emerged as a result of disruptions to the supply and demand of credit, including inability to refinance loans, difficulty of small businesses in distressed industries to secure loans as banks decrease exposure in industries with high loss rates and increased need of patient capital to finance equipment, hire employees and other expenditures that require longer repayment periods. …

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