More money on the way

In October, President Obama announced he intends to step up the government's efforts to help small businesses. His administration hopes to help further stimulate the economy and stem the number of jobs being lost.

As part of the president's plan, lending to small businesses will increase and smaller community lenders will have greater access to capital.

In a speech in Maryland to the 13 employees of a small storage and delivery company, Obama said: "I know that times are tough, and I can only imagine what many of you are going through in terms of keeping things going in the midst of a very tough economic climate, but I guarantee you this: This administration is going to stand behind small businesses. You are our highest priority because we are confident that when you are succeeding, America succeeds."

The Obama administration will use the Troubled Asset Relief Program to lower the cost of capital for smaller banks and community development financial institutions that plan to increase lending to small businesses through the Small Business Administration's 504 and 7(a) programs. The cost of capital to small banks will be about 2 percent, down from 5 percent.

The measure also will more than double the maximum size limit of some guaranteed loans to small-business owners.

Paul G. Merski, chief economist for Independent Community Bankers of America, told BusinessWeek: "We are applauding these new efforts. There are huge risks involved in extending small-business credit in today's struggling economy; big policy responses and big incentives such as increased government loan guarantees … will be needed to overcome the risks and expand lending."

In addition, the government wants to increase lending to franchisees. According to BusinessWeek, the administration's plan was partly a result of meetings with large franchise corporations.

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Ambika Puniani Bailey is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's senior director of communications.


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