Yesterday, United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and George LeMieux [R-Fla.] sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner requesting swift implementation of the Small Business Lending Fund [SBLF] and the State Small Business Credit Initiative, two provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.
Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux were instrumental in including the SBLF in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 -- legislation that has created a $30 billion strategic partnership with community banks to boost lending to small firms.
"As you know, community banks participate disproportionately in small-business lending compared to large banks," Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux wrote in the letter. "With this in mind, it is imperative that we do all we can to assist these community banks in increasing small-business lending. The thoughtfully designed programs in the Act are crucial for community banks across the country. Thoughtful and prudent implementation is also necessary, and we ask that you act as quickly as possible. We urge you to retain small-business access to capital as your top priority in implementing provisions of the Act.
"For months during the crafting of the underlying bill, we heard from bank after bank that would benefit from the Small Business Lending Fund, as well as from the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Since the bill was signed into law on Sept. 27, 2010, our offices have heard from countless additional banks that are eager to access these important programs. Banks who participate will have economic incentives to increase their small-business lending. In turn, this will provide vital support to our small businesses in these difficult economic times."
The Small Business Lending Fund would inject $30 billion through community banks into the small-business economy. This provision is estimated to save taxpayers $1.1 billion over 10 years.
SBLF was endorsed by several organizations, including the Independent Community Bankers of America, American Bankers Association, National Small Business Association, National Association for the Self-Employed, Small Business Majority, National Bankers Association, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, among others.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative provides $1.5 billion in grants to support at least $15 billion in new small-business lending through already-successful state-run programs. Many of these state-run programs are facing cutbacks due to budget shortfalls, and this initiative will allow states to build upon successful models for state small-business programs, including Capital Access Programs [CAPs], collateral support programs, and loan guarantee programs -- including those targeted at rural and agricultural small businesses.
To view the full text of the letter sent to the Treasury Department, go to: http://bit.ly/LandrieuLeMieuxLetter.
Who says that Washington is devoid of bipartisanship? This is a prime example of how Democrats and Republicans can actually work together -- in this case, on behalf of small businesses.
Kudos to Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux for doing what Americans want our elected officials to do: cooperate and collaborate for the greater win-win-win good.
SOURCES: OpenCongress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House
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