Small business gets its bailout

(Note: The Recovery Act did not directly assign $15.5 billion in funds to the SBA, but $730 million that has so far supported $13.4 billion in SBA-backed loans to small businesses, according to the SBA.)

After having watched Wall Street get a near $1 trillion bailout, America’s reeling small businesses will get their own relief package from Uncle Sam, in the form of the “Small Business Financing and Investment Act” that was passed by the House of Representatives last night by a 389-to-32 majority vote.

The new legislation, which increases the Small Business Administration’s lending budget by $44 billion, was announced on a day when President Obama met with small business owners to discuss his proposals to improve their access to credit in order to boost job creation. The bill will still have to be approved by the Senate and there is no timetable for when the money will get into the hands of small business owners.

“This bill is about choices. It’s about better options for the small businesses that didn’t get a bailout,” said Nydia M. Velázquez, the chairman of the House Small Business Committee in a prepared statement. “Small businesses with tight profit margins don’t have the luxury of simply ‘tightening the belt.’ When money is short, they’re often forced to lay off workers. But with unemployment at 9.8 percent, we just can’t afford more losses. That’s why this bill delivers critical capital to new ventures.”

The latest small business stimulus follows on the heels of the $730 million Obama included in the Recovery Act passed in February, which has so far supported $13.4 billion in SBA-backed loans to small businesses, according to the SBA.

Community lenders get a mini bailout

Timothy Geithner It’s considerably less than the multi-billion bailout the commercial banking sector received as part of President Obama’s Recovery Act legislation, but battered community banking institutions will gladly take it.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pledged $90 million to help 59 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in 26 states and Puerto Rico. CDFIs help companies, including many small businesses, in economically distressed urban, rural, and Native communities.

Geithner’s announcement comes on the heels of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech that called for help for CDFIs at the Global Financial Literacy Summit in Washington, DC two weeks prior. Bernanke said, “while community development is a small part of our overall capital and credit markets, the Federal Reserve recognizes that these financial flows are critically important for many low- and moderate-income communities.”