WASHINGTON D.C. (9/20/13)--With the opportunity to create over 140,000 jobs, small business owners' primary concern is gaining access to additional capital to grow their businesses. During The Hill's
Policy Briefing Panel on Small Business, Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Bill Hampel, along with other industry leaders, discussed what small businesses need from the U.S. Congress to be successful.
The main message was simple: remove the barriers that prevent small
The Hill's policy briefing entitled "Small Business Voices" was live streamed on the publication's website. Shown here, Credit Union National Association Chief Economist Bill Hampel notes that credit unions and small banks have increased their small business lending by 50% since the beginning of the recession. (CUNA Photo)
businesses from growing by allowing them more access to capital, and don't hurt small business by destroying consumer confidence with unnecessary drama over the looming federal debt ceiling.
Panelists Mike Roach and Anne Zimmerman, small business owners from Oregon and Ohio, both suggested that passing the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act, which would eliminate the artificial cap on how much credit unions can lend to small businesses, would be a good start to helping small businesses gain access to additional capital.
Zimmerman was rejected by big banks when she went to purchase the building she runs her business in and had to rely on credit unions and community banks to fund her acquisition. Her story reflects the same message that many small business owners shared during CUNA's National Small Business Hike the Hill Day in 2012.
"Credit unions and small banks have increased their small business lending by 50% since the beginning of the recession," said CUNA's Hampel. This type of growth, even during the recessionary period, demonstrates that credit unions have the capital and means to help small businesses succeed and could do even more if Congress were to lift the artificial cap on their lending capabilities.
The panel also expressed concern about the government's looming budget debates this fall. Business owners are just beginning to win consumers' trust back and a government shut down or failure to raise the debt ceiling would only hinder consumer spending and weaken consumer, ultimately hurting the growth of small businesses, they observed.
The long-term federal debt outlook is another major concern for small business owners. Hampel indicated that although the federal debt ratio is in a stable place right now, if Congress doesn't address the explosive growth of entitlement spending, primarily Social Security and Medicare over the coming few decades, the country would indeed face a fiscal crisis.
The panel's conclusive suggestion for Congress to help small businesses was to work to eliminate the barriers that hold them back from growing. Rather than Congress being a negative force, find positive ways to help small business and thus the economy by passing legislation such as the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act, which would increase the credit union member lending business cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%. The panel stressed that the legislation would not cost taxpayers any money but it would reap huge benefits for consumers and small businesses alike.