Small Business Access Roundtable Reading – The White House | NutSocia

Yesterday, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzmán, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, American Bailout Coordinator Gene Sperling and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Bharat Ramamurti were joined by Senator Hickenlooper and small business leaders, advocates and mission lenders with particular expertise to reach out to minority small businesses to discuss the Biden-Harris administration’s small business agenda to expand access to capital, including newly proposed rules from the SBA and historic Treasury Department investments in CDFIs. The group included nonprofit mission lender groups, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), foundations and advocacy groups, all experienced in meeting the needs of historically underserved small business owners.

Participants agreed on the importance of breaking down capital barriers by meeting small business owners locally, providing multiple avenues to access capital, and providing support services needed to navigate available programs and better reach underserved small business owners. The Biden-Harris administration is working to meet this need in a variety of ways, including investing in the American Rescue Plan, which has helped set the stage for small business support for years to come. The SBA proposes reforms that would make it easier for lenders to work with the SBA to offer small loans and expand the pool of lenders and capital options for small businesses, with a focus on historically underserved businesses. The Treasury Department has launched a multi-agency effort to identify gaps in services to underserved communities and has made historic investments in the CDFIs, which often serve as the primary lenders to minority-owned businesses.

Administrator Guzmán gave an overview of her agenda to reform access to capital for the SBA. These included a proposal to lift the moratorium on Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses, proposed reforms for the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), and proposed streamlining and modernization of affiliation, lending criteria and employee ownership requirements for the business of the SBA loan programs. The proposed SBLC rule would allow the SBA to govern this expansion of lending while ensuring appropriate lender engagement and protection protocols. The Administrator has identified as a priority for these new SBLC licenses to focus on a diverse representation of lenders who are responsible for meeting the most acute capital needs of small businesses, such as: B. Small dollar lenders, minority businesses and rural communities. Additionally, later this year, SBA plans to introduce significant technological enhancements to its small business borrower-lender matching tool to enhance the experience and ease of matching potential borrowers and lenders.

The assistant secretary spoke of the historic collaboration in the Biden-Harris administration between agencies to support underserved communities, particularly when it comes to community investment and access to capital. Through the Emergency Capital Investment Program, the CDFI Fund and the State Small Business Credit Initiative, the Treasury Department has provided billions in funding to support small and minority-owned businesses and consumers. In July, Vice President Harris announced the formation of the Interagency Community Investment Committee (ICIC), chaired by the Treasury Department, which has since led a process to solicit input on how agencies can better align to support underserved communities.

Senator Hickenlooper underscored the critical nature of expanding small business activity nationwide, emphasizing the role that responsibly regulated fintechs can play in expanding access to affordable capital for underserved small businesses while protecting the integrity of the system.

At the meeting, attendees commended the Biden-Harris administration for these initiatives, which have improved access to capital and addressed persistent credit gaps. One attendee noted the welcome and need for proactive consideration of expanding SBLC licenses to focus on order-based lenders and commended the SBA for prioritizing measured license expansion to ensure consumer protection . Another leading small business advocate highlighted how the expansion of SBLC licenses would allow for diversification of lending options, including mission lenders and responsible fintech options to address acute capital shortfalls, and praised the SBA’s borrower protection principles. Several participants stressed the importance of ensuring that capital allocators reflect the diversity of America and its small business owners. The group discussed the critical opportunity to expand the use of technology to scale lending, alternative underwriting models and the provision of technical support.

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