Financing Remains a Challenge for Small Businesses

Nearly four in 10 small-business owners polled in the past few weeks said they are not able to get the financing they need to run their firms, according to a study Wednesday from the National Small Business Association. That's up from a third in December 2008.


USA Today also reports that the Service Employees International Union says SBA lending by major banks has significantly dried up. Bank of America, for instance, made a mere $10 million in 7(a) loans for the first seven months of fiscal year 2009. For the past two full years, it made $102 million and $336 million in 7(a) loans, according to the SEIU.

The 7(a) program provides capital for a range of business purposes, such as construction or supplies.

Today's reports are gloomy, but there are bright spots on the lending front. From Feb. 17 to July 10, more than 700 lenders that had not made a 7(a) loan since October 2008 made such loans, according to the SBA.

Yet the numbers remain down vs. last year. SBA 7(a) lending for the fiscal third quarter ended in June dropped 38 percent by volume and 50 percent by number of loans compared with the same quarter last year, according to the Coleman Report, which provides information on small-business lending.

In addition to SBA loan issues, small businesses are dealing with "worsening credit card terms," as well as arbitrary reductions in their credit card limits, the NSBA report says.

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