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Report to the President on the 11/18 Small Business Financing Forum

Wednesday, December 9, 2009  
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As a follow up to the Nov. 18 Small Business Financing Forum, Treasury and SBA today issued their Report to the President summarizing the policy ideas and recommendations discussed. This forum brought together small business owners, lenders, regulators and policymakers for an open discussion focused on the best ideas for providing the support small businesses need to continue to drive economic recovery.

This report is aimed at continuing this important dialogue going forward, including at the President's Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth today, at which Secretary Geithner and Administrator Mills will be leading a session on "Paving the Road for Small Business Job Growth."

The introduction to the report, along with a link to the report itself, is provided below.



Washington, DC * November 18, 2009


Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They are leaders in innovation, critical engines of job growth, and springboards to recovery. To play this important role, however, small businesses need access to financing.

That's why, as the President and his Administration have worked to help stabilize the nation's fragile financial markets, we have sought to ensure that small businesses across the country have tax relief and access to lending and other sources of capital. It is why Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have worked with Congress on a strategy of raising SBA guarantees, temporarily eliminating borrower fees and unlocking secondary markets - helping to give lenders the confidence they need to extend more credit.  It is why the President asked Treasury and the SBA to convene entrepreneurs and small business owners, lenders, policymakers and regulators to assess additional ways to spur small business growth at the Small Business Financing Forum. And it is why the President will personally lead a White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth tomorrow in which small businesses will play a key role.

At the panels and the breakout groups convened as part of the Small Business Financing Forum - and in comments we received afterwards - participants were asked to present their recommendations concerning how financing could be made more available to small businesses to spur job creation and thereby strengthen the recovery. Many of the ideas listed in this report are not ones the Administration supports or agrees with, but we believe that the best policy occurs when we engage in an open dialogue. As a result, we wanted to present for discussion the broad range of views set forth that pertained directly to access to credit or job creation. In addition, we have included as part of this report the remarks presented in our opening session by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair, Senate Committee on Small Business Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, and House Committee on Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, as well as Secretary Geithner and Administrator Mills.

The Administration has already provided important lifelines to small businesses. We worked with Congress to provide targeted tax relief to small businesses, letting them write off more of their expenses and earn instant refunds on their taxes by "carrying back" their losses five years, instead of two. As part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the Administration temporarily raised guarantees and lowered fees for the SBA's flagship programs, helping to drive up average weekly loan volume nearly 80 percent compared to the weeks before the act was passed. We have helped revive securitization markets that were a critical source of credit for small businesses until the crisis, with the volume of loans sold on these markets nearly four times higher in October than in January. And we have set forth plans to provide low-cost capital to community banks that are committed to increasing their small business lending, and to providing additional resources for Community Development Financial Institutions that serve America's hardest-hit communities.

With financial institutions tightening lending standards in this recent economic crisis, we know that the small businesses that depend on them for credit have been hit particularly hard. We remain committed to working with Congress and the small business and lending community to help ensure that much-needed credit is flowing in a responsible way so that small businesses can once again lead the country out of recession and back to prosperity. This report is being transmitted to the President as one step in ensuring that he has at his disposal the views of a wide array of small business owners, lenders and policymakers about how best to help America's small businesses recover and, with them, the nation.

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