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The Facts on Restoring Main Street’s Credit

Published on April 27, 2012

Earlier this week, more than 1,000 bankers came to Washington, DC with a simple message for their members of Congress: the need for affordable loans and lines of credit does not exist in their local communities.  Apparently, banks are satisfied that extensions of credit at 20% interest or more are exactly what Main Street businesses need to survive (empty local storefronts and commercial buildings, not withstanding).

The National Main Street Business Coalition is getting feedback from the banks’ misinformation campaign on Capitol Hill regarding H.R. 4293, the Restore Main Street’s Credit Act of 2012.  Banks call H.R. 4293 a “solution without a problem.”  They claim that all of the lending needs of businesses in their communities are being met.  They said some other things that, quite frankly, are pretty disturbing.

In response, the Coalition has put together this fact sheet on H.R. 4293 to help set the record straight:

H.R. 4293 — The Facts on Restoring Main Street’s Credit

If you have not already done so, send a message to your member of Congress and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 4293, the Restore Main Street’s Credit Act.  Have your employees, neighbors, family and friends do the same.  Together, we can reestablish a financial safety net that will allow family-owned businesses in your communities to keep their doors open and lights on…all at no cost to the American taxpayer.

 
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Banks Slam Main Street, Main Street Responds

Published on April 20, 2012

The National Main Street Business Coalition yesterday called on House leaders to schedule a public hearing to examine the inability of brick-and-mortar Main Street businesses to secure affordable loans and lines of credit. The letter to Congress, signed by eleven association executives representing traditional Main Street industries, offered perspective on H.R. 4293 —“Restore Main Street’s Credit Act of 2012.”  The Coalition also refuted several claims made earlier this week by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).

Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon introduced H.R. 4293 on March 28, just before the House began its spring recess. The bill defines a “Main Street Business” as a brick-and-mortar for-profit business, operating from a physical location other than a home, with 20 or fewer full-time employees. It would make loans to such businesses exempt from the member business-lending cap placed on credit unions.

Regarding H.R. 4293, the Main Street coalition wrote, “H.R. 4293 would restore a path to affordable capital to actual Main Street businesses at no cost to the American taxpayer. Not a bailout or a handout, but a way out of the financial jeopardy that our members continue to encounter.”

In its letter to Congress, the Coalition repudiated ICBA’s assertion that credit unions were behind the introduction of H.R. 4293. “While ICBA attempted to link H.R. 4293…to other credit union business-lending bills, the truth is that the credit unions had nothing to do with the introduction of this legislation,” the Coalition wrote. “That ICBA would utilize such rhetoric in an attempt to cut off a potential financial lifeline for their neighbors along Main Street is disturbing.” Despite ICBA’s opposition, the Coalition said it hopes to work with community banks on enhanced lending solutions for its member businesses.

Though the Main Street Business Coalition’s letter applauded bi-partisan Congressional efforts earlier this year to support other business entities, it noted that, “less attention has been given to retaining local, family-owned businesses that are trying to keep their doors open and their lights on.” One challenge is the wide-reaching scope of Congress’s definition of a “small” business. “This has been the issue all along,” the coalition wrote. “Existing Main Street microbusinesses have been thrown in with larger ‘small’ business interests as Congress attempts to address issues with capital access.”

Reiterating its request for a public hearing, the Coalition asked: “If banks and corporations have proven themselves beneficiaries of policies that recognize that they are ‘too big to fail,’ the lack of effective public policy to sustain and enhance lending to the smallest of small businesses leaves us to humbly ask: are Main Street businesses simply too small to care about?”

For a full version of the National Main Street Business Coalition letter to Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi, click here.

 
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Rep. Kurt Schrader Introduces Restore Main Street’s Credit Act

Published on April 3, 2012

capitolOn Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon introduced H.R. 4293, the “Restore Main Street’s Credit Act of 2012” in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Restore Main Street’s Credit Act would restore a path to capital for brick-and-mortar businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees by exempting loans and extensions of credit from an arbitrary limitation placed on member business lending by credit unions. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Rep. Janice Hahn (CA) signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 4293 prior to Congress’s Easter recess.

The National Main Street Business Coalition wishes to thank Rep. Schrader and co-sponsors of H.R. 4293 for understanding the unique capital access challenges of brick-and-mortar microbusinesses and for choosing to stand up as true champions of Main Street. This simple, straightforward legislation would begin to address the credit gap that exists for brick-and-mortar businesses across America, both on Main Streets and beyond. Most importantly, the financial flexibility necessary for operating a Main Street business would begin to be restored at no cost to the American taxpayer.

For more information on the Restore Main Street’s Credit Act, visit our “What We Do” page, where you can find background information regarding this effort. Ask your member of Congress to join Rep. Schrader and his colleagues in becoming a Main Street Champion by restoring a path to capital.  Visit our “Get Involved” page.

 
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