- Lesia Bates Moss is president of Seedco Financial, a subsidiary of Seedco, a national nonprofit organization that helps low-income people and communities move toward economic prosperity. Any opinions are her own. -
As policymakers in Washington work to unfreeze the credit market and reinvigorate lending activity, much of the attention has fallen on the biggest lenders and the needs of major companies.
But on Main Streets across the nation, small businesses have also been hit hard by the recession and credit crunch. Unable to obtain affordable capital – and often in need of technical assistance to help them survive the financial tumult – many small businesses are closing their doors and laying off workers.
President Obama has proposed some important steps to address the small business credit crisis. His plan creates incentives for banks to lend to small businesses by expanding loan guarantees and purchasing up to $15 billion of Small Business Administration-backed loans through the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
But a small business rescue package should include a large infusion of capital that puts money directly into the hands of small businesses. In addition, resources should support the activities of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other alternative lenders who provide a range of financial and technical assistance services to small employers left reeling by the downturn.