Obama Announces Plans to Boost Small Business Lending

Credit lines to be made available under TARP

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moneypuzzleEXCLUSIVESLawmakers have developed a tedious habit of constantly referring to small businesses as the engines that drive the nation’s economy and then doing little to help them — aiding instead businesses and banks deemed too big to fail. That changed last week when President Barack Obama announced an eagerly embraced plan to allow small community banks to borrow low-dividend capital from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which will in turn enable them to ramp up their small business loan levels.

Flanked by thousands of boxes of paper records stored by Metropolitan Archives, a Maryland-based business that used an Small Business Administration loan last year to buy its building, Obama said, “There’s still too little credit flowing to our small businesses,” that need financing to stay open or to grow.

Under the administration’s plan, banks with less than $1 billion in assets will be able to borrow at a 3% dividend rate, which is lower than the five-percent rate banks participating in TARP’s Capital Purchase Program currently pay. The rate will increase to 9% after five years to encourage timely repayment.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that lend to small businesses in low-income neighborhoods will be able to borrow capital at a 2% rate for eight years.

No date has been set for when the program will begin, but each bank’s participation is subject to the approval of its federal regulator. In addition banks must submit a plan that explains how the capital would allow them to increase small business lending and includes lending goals based on how much they want to borrow. If approved, they must submit quarterly progress reports.

In a conference call with reporters last week, Gene Sperling, counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, said that 56% of the business loans made by the more than 7500 financial institutions that have assets under $1 billion go to small businesses, compared to 21% by those with assets over $1 billion. Treasury has not yet determined how much of an increase the program will yield.

“If you want to help small businesses get more credit you’ve got to make sure that smaller banks that are so often the source of their lending have more capital,” he said. “It’s the community banks that are lending not from Wall Street but from down the street that are the source of credit for so many of the entrepreneurs and small business owners in our country.”

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  • Statistic show that small business is what’s holding up AMERICA. This is most evident in the City of Detroit. President Obama’s plan to Boost Small business is so over due, but right on time!

    I work for City Government and I have lost my health benefits, pension, and 401K. Fortunate for me I had my side hustle and talents that helped me balance my finances. Who would have thought FACE PAINTING would open up a door to provide financial growth. Although, I now work part-time for the City of Detroit, my focus is to grow my business. Everything does happens for a reason! In the last two years, I have gained some major clients such at The Wellness Plan, Detroit Public Library, Boston Edison Association, The Detroit Parent Network, Highland Park Schools and others!

    As a small business owner, I am open and ready to have the opportunity to expand with a small loan with low interest. I look forward to President Obama’s plan to help America to continue to grow via SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS!

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