Entrepreneurial

SBA says small business lending up, but some feeling left out

This week Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills gave America’s top banks a pat on the back for boosting their lending to small businesses over the last 12 months, while separate data showed that funding for the most needy small businesses actually contracted.

In a blog posted on the SBA’s official website, Mills trumpeted that the U.S.’s top 13 biggest banks have increased loans to small businesses by a whopping $11 billion since last September as part of a commitment to boost lending by $20 billion by the end of 2014.

“The continued success of this commitment serves as an important example of what is possible when the public and private sectors work together to assist America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Mills wrote.

While not disputing Mills’s arithmetic, small business funding expert Ami Kassar said the $11-billion figure “does not represent Main Street lending whatsoever.”

Kassar, whose Philadelphia-based company MultiFunding LLC helps small businesses get their hands on capital from a variety of lenders, said the SBA number covers loans made to businesses with as much as $20 million in revenue who tend to borrow in excess of $1 million.

Small Business Week heads to D.C.

It’s Small Business Week, and here are a few links to help you know what’s going on.

Inc. has a list of ten impressive attendees in D.C., and the New York Times has a post packed with useful Small Business Week links. At Entrpereneur.com, Victoria Tifft, the Small Business Administration 2012 National Small Business Person of the Year and founder of ClinicalRM, a medical device and vaccine research company, discusses the growth of her business.

And at Reuters, John Stoehr is asking, in light of a challenge to the health care law: Who truly speaks for Small Businesses?

Big banks see slow recovery for small business

Marc Bernstein’s response to reports of loan facilitators advising small business clients to avoid big banks: “It’s simply bad information.”

The head of Wells Fargo’s small business lending initiatives then pointed to the $3.7 billion the country’s fourth-largest bank (by total assets) lent to small firms over the first three months of the year – an increase of 27 percent over the first quarter of 2010.

“That’s not small change,” said Bernstein, who added Wells Fargo is the largest national lender of loans under $100,000 and was recently honored as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2011 Large 7(a) Lender of the Year. “We are trying to do everything we can to get people who apply for a loan approved, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of small businesses that unfortunately have been hit very badly by the downturn and are struggling and it’s hard to see how they’re going to handle more debt.”

7 tips for landing an SBA loan

– Rachel Zippwald is the vice president of California Bank & Trust, a major SBA lender. The views expressed are her own. –

Small businesses seeking financing are in for a bit of good luck these days.

Special Small Business Administration incentives, such as the waiver of certain fees, are still available until the end of the year, so now is the time to apply for financing. There are, however, a few caveats.

While SBA loans are available, it may take a bit more work to obtain one and banks are requiring more information than they have in the past. The following are a few tips to facilitate getting your SBA loan approved.

Small business bill passes, now what?

As President Obama gets set to sign off on the $30-billion small business lending bill, people want to know one thing: how will it help me?

That’s what small business owners like Bruce Freeman want to know. Freeman, who runs Proline Communications, a marketing and consulting business in New Jersey and writes a syndicated column “Ask The Small Business Professor”, said the the $12 billion in tax breaks included in the bill will help, but the larger $30-billion portion earmarked for small community banks should instead be given directly to small businesses.

“Give it to me. Don’t give it to somebody else to then hopefully, maybe, get it to me,” said Freeman, who would prefer to get the money in the form of tax credits, or some other more direct assistance. “Give it to me in the form of beer bottles with the name of my business on it, but give it to me. This loan stuff is ridiculous, because I don’t know if I could ever get one.”

Save the pelicans and small businesses

– George A. Cloutier is the founder and CEO of American Management Services and the author of the bestselling book “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The opinions expressed are his own. –

For the last two months we have been inundated with photos of oil-covered pelicans and other marine animals victimized by the oil spewing forth from the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill in the Gulf is obviously disastrous, but it pales to the economic “oil spill” that has destroyed small businesses over the last two years.

Pelicans and small business owners are faced with surprisingly similar situations: they are victims of disastrous events beyond their control. They are faced with a life-threatening struggle for survival, in which many have already passed due to lack of assistance, or are facing an uncertain future with promises of government intervention.

National Small Business Week: Who cares?

– George A. Cloutier, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the founder and CEO of American Management Services, one of the nation’s largest turnaround and management services firms specializing in small and mid-sized companies. He is also the author of the bestselling book “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The opinions expressed are his own. –

Certainly not the Obama Administration and Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) who have repeatedly failed small business at every opportunity with soaring rhetoric, empty promises, and adopting Lilliputian aid programs.

Most of the twenty-nine million small businesses and their fifty million employees’ won’t be celebrating National Small Business Week because they’re fighting the worst economic crisis in recent history. The twenty-five thousand plus small businesses failing every week, and the owners who have lost their life savings and depleted their 401k’s, will not be celebrating either.

Small Talk: Parsing Geithner’s speech to small business

It appears the magic number for American small businesses is 10, as in the sudden urgency to help smaller companies after the U.S. unemployment rate jumped over 10 percent last month for the first time in a quarter century. After a year with Wall Street at the top of everyone’s agenda, Main Street is now taking center stage.

Suddenly new lending programs are being announced, town halls are hastily being arranged and political heavyweights from across the financial and ideological spectrums are falling over themselves to propose their plans for how to get small businesses back on track and hiring.

Over the past month, everyone from President Obama, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and to billionaire investor Warren Buffett have addressed the issue. Yesterday was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s kick at the can (watch the video of his speech here), when he chaired a forum on small business financing with FDIC head Sheila Bair and SBA chief Karen Mills.

from The Great Debate:

Obama fails small businesses

georgecloutier1-- George A. Cloutier, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the founder and CEO of American Management Services, one of the nation’s largest turnaround and management services firms specializing in small and mid-size companies. The opinions of George Cloutier are his own and do not represent those of the United States Conference of Mayors or Partner America. --

President Obama gets an “F” for his small business program. The SBA has guaranteed a paltry 50,000 loans  to the nation’s 29 million small businesses – that’s .0017. Loan volume is down 36 percent from 2008 and 50 percent from 2007. Obama and his advisers have actually done the unimaginable; they have reduced the flow of aid to small businesses in the face of a deep recession. The program’s bank lenders have left $15 billion on the table due to “regulatory problems.” Even an administration plan to provide lending to 70,000 vehicle dealers has no takers and failed.

Administration “experts” allocated less than 1 percent of the stimulus bill to small business. It’s mind-boggling that Washington ignores the biggest economic sector in the country employing 60 million people, producing 50 percent of GDP, and creating 70 percent of new jobs.

Small Talk: Jobs data contradictory

Over the last week there have been some wins and losses for small businesses in terms of new job data.

On the win side of the ledger, a new Intuit survey shows 44 percent of small businesses say they plan to hire in the next 12 months. The data is included in a San Francisco Chronicle story profiling a local Web startup – Airbnb.com – that is doing its part, having hired seven people since April, at a time when national unemployment has reached a 26-year high of 10.2 percent.

But that optimism is tempered by a USA Today story that said the main reason the unemployment rate jumped in October was due primarily to small businesses cutting staff. It seems that while some small companies are starting to hire again, they are still outnumbered by the ones laying off their workers. The story quotes Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who explained there is a bias towards big companies in how the Labor Department compiles its payroll survey, which showed October job losses were down nearly 50 percent (190,000) from the average of 357,000 in May, June and July.

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