Responsible Small Business Lending

So much for a slow summer!

  • Responsible Small Business Lending
  • Webinar: How to Use Thumbtack
  • Be Counted – Fill Out The microTracker Census by August 21, 2015.
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight includes sponsorship of seven CAMEO members for AEO’s 2015 Microbusiness Learning Conference, September 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Scroll down for more details.)

Responsible Small Business Lending

We’ve written a lot about the disruption in small business lending, especially in communities that have been underserved. This transformation will achieve its potential only if it is built on transparency, fairness, and putting the rights of borrowers at the center of the lending process. To that end, a coalition – Accion, Aspen Institute, Fundera, Funding Circle, Lending Club, Multifunding, Opportunity Fund and Small Business Majority – identified the fundamental financing rights that all small businesses deserve.

The Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights outlines six key rights that all borrowers should have. If a lender chooses to adhere to the criteria, the CEO signs the bill of rights and ensure compliance. The six key rights are:

  1. The right to transparent pricing and terms, including a right to see an annualized interest rate and fees.
  2. The right to non-abusive products, so that borrowers don’t get trapped.
  3. The right to responsible underwriting, so that borrowers are not put into loans that they cannot repay.
  4. The right to fair treatment from brokers, so that borrowers are not steered to the most expensive loans that pay the broker the highest commission.
  5. The right to inclusive credit action, without discrimination.
  6. The right to fair collection practices, to prevent harassment.

If you’re a small business lender, credit marketplace, or broker, you can sign the bill of rights. If you are another interested party, you can become an endorser. CAMEO has signed on as an endorser.

Also, please participate in this call to action to support responsible small business lending through the SBA. All it takes is an email.

The Senate is considering legislation passed by the Senate Small Business Committee that would change the SBA Microloan program. While some of the changes are beneficial to intermediaries, counselors, and entrepreneurs, the bill fails to include critical reforms that program participants have requested. For example, the current legislation would allow a waiver from the 25/75 Technical Assistance (TA) requirement to be issued by SBA. This is unnecessary paperwork and the requirement should be removed all together. Providing business assistance that supports entrepreneurs should be at the lenders discretion. AEO and CAMEO believe that microloan reform legislation without important changes will not best benefit the program and its users. We urge you to add your organization in support of this letter to tell the Senate to include these reforms in their legislation. If you are willing to sign on, please email our Government Relations team member John Stanford.

Webinar: How to Use Thumbtack

CAMEO has been on a quest to bring you information about the technologies that are empowering self-employment and microbusiness. Join us for a train-the-trainer webinar with Thumbtack on August 19, 2015 at 11:00am (click link to register and learn more). Thumbtack is a platform that matches professionals with people who need their services. According to Thumbtack:

“Our technology is transforming the way people accomplish any project, anywhere, anytime. Just tell us what you need done. We’ll quickly deliver customized quotes so you can compare pricing, read reviews, and hire the right professional on the spot.”

Luke McGowan from Thumbtack will discuss:

  • How to use Thumbtack as a small business service professional (how to make a winning quote, how to create a solid profile, etc…);
  • How Thumbtack is supporting Small Businesses (through research and advocacy efforts); and
  • How to market a small business online.

The Goodies

New opportunities for training, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. I have posted a running tab of current Industry Goodies on the CAMEO website that lists items that were in past emails. Check it out to make sure you’re not missing anything, like grants whose deadlines are still alive!

New Report: Do microbusinesses create good jobs? Short answer: Yes. FIELD interviewed more than 100 employees to find that workers value the flexibility, fulfillment, and skill-building opportunities offered by their microbusiness jobs and 63% made wages at or above President Obama’s proposed increase to the minimum wage. Check out the full report for more findings.

For Your Clients: Banks are issuing new chip-enabled payment cards that are more secure. The deadline for phasing in these cards is October 1. Businesses need to install new card readers to process the information on the chips. Those that do not have the new technology in place by then will be on the hook for any security lapses or fraudulent transactions, instead of payment-processing firms. Business Forward is hosting a webinar: Credit cards are changing – get your business ready on August 19, 2015 at 11:00am PT. Pass it on.

Free Webinar: Friedman and Associates host Are You (CDFI) Certifiable? on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 11:00am PST. This webinar, led by long-time CDFI expert and former CDFI Fund staff Alice Veenstra, will take you inside the certification process and answer key questions including: 1) What does it mean to become a CDFI? 2) What are the tests of certification and how do I know if my organization can be certified? 3) What is the process to prepare the application? 4) If we are not yet ready for certification, how do we prepare for it?

For Your Clients: The Office of Women’s Business Ownership are pleased to announce the launch of the SBA’s InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge in partnership with Microsoft. The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round. Through this Challenge, the SBA is looking for entrepreneurs to create a product or service that (1) has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, (2) has the potential for commercialization, and (3) fills a need in the marketplace. Organizations can begin submitting requests to host a local competition by sending a written request. The deadline to apply to host a competition is September 3, 2015.

Industry Meeting: Save the date for OFN’s 2015 Western Regional Meeting September 17, 2015 at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (101 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105). This promises to be an engaging meeting where CDFI staff, Board members, partners, and others can network and learn more about what’s happening in the industry and in the region. Stay tuned for more information in August.

Professional Development Conference: CAMEO is very pleased to sponsor seven CAMEO members for AEO’s 2015 Microbusiness Learning Conference, September 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. To apply for the scholarship, visit our individualized training page for the application information. If you have questions contact Shufina English.

Grant Opportunity: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the launch of the Economic Development Administrations (EDA) $10 million funding opportunity for the 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for two funding opportunities: the i6 Challenge, which funds organizations that help innovators and entrepreneurs turn innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into viable, sustainable companies, and Seed Fund Support Grants (previously Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds), which funds regionally-focused seed capital funds that provide early-stage capital to innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. Stay tuned for a webinar to learn more.