** Report posted online at www.mainstreetalliance.org/publications **
Washington, DC – Today, the Main Street Alliance released a new report highlighting impacts of the financial crisis on small businesses and a snapshot of Main Street business owners’ views on financial reform. Main Street Policy Pulse: Small Business Views on Financial Reform is based on a survey of more than 1,200 small business owners from 13 states. The survey found decisive support among Main Street small businesses for strong financial reforms, including the creation of a consumer financial protection agency.
Small business owners from MSA partner coalitions in a dozen states organized state and local release activities. Along with the national report, the Alliance released “state snapshots” featuring the state results for the following states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.
“While the big banks have been busy converting their massive bailouts into massive bonuses, small businesses have really been suffering,” said Brian Radford, owner of HK on the Bay in Virginia Beach and a leader with the Virginia Main Street Alliance. “We need financial reform with a strong consumer protection agency to put the economy back on solid ground – and make sure Wall Street can’t pull the rug out from under us again.”
Key national findings from the survey include:
- Since June 2008, more than two in five respondents (41 percent) reported using personal savings or credit cards for expenses normally covered with external loans or business credit cards. Nearly a third (32 percent) saw their business credit card terms deteriorate.
- Over three quarters of respondents (77 percent) did not believe enough steps have been taken to shield small businesses from another Wall Street crisis.
- By a margin of nearly 4 to 1 (69 percent to 18 percent), responding small business owners supported passage of strong financial reforms over cautions against too much government involvement.
- By a margin of over 5 to 1 (67 percent to 12 percent), responding business owners supported creation of a consumer financial protection agency.
“We need a consumer financial protection agency to ensure that small businesses receive fair and transparent access to loans,” said Jacqueline Germany, owner of Nina’s Nuances Interior Design, Inc in Montclair, New Jersey. “It makes no sense that the banks received these monstrous bonuses, but small businesses like mine are seeing our credit pulled back.”
Small businesses, key to job creation strategies and economic recovery, could prove a pivotal voice in an unfolding debate where the DC-based business lobby has sided with the country’s biggest banks in opposing financial reforms even as small businesses continue to pay the price – in lost business and frozen credit – for the speculative Wall Street practices that brought on the financial crisis.
The House of Representatives passed a financial reform bill, HR 4173, the “Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act of 2009,” in December. The Senate Banking Committee is readying a bill for markup in the coming weeks.
The Main Street Policy Pulse: Small Business Views on Financial Reform national summary report and “state snapshot” fact sheets are available online at: www.mainstreetalliance.org/publications.