2017 Small Business Lending in the U.S.

U.S. banks play an integral role as credit suppliers to small businesses. Small businesses comprise of nearly all employer firms in the economy and employ 47.3 percent of the private sector workforce (SBA Advocacy, 2019). The existence and performance of these vibrant businesses depend on how banks and other financial intermediaries are responding to their credit needs. This report uses publicly available data on U.S. banks to analyze the patterns in small business lending.

CDFIs by The Numbers

The Richmond Fed’s recent report, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) by the Numbers, provides findings from the 2019 Federal Reserve CDFI Survey. CDFIs are specialized financial institutions operating in markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

Female Founding Gaps in Agri-FoodTech

Agri-FoodTech is an emerging category within the food startup universe with enormous potential to impact critical issues from climate change to food insecurity. More and more venture capital is being invested in the sector, but it’s not reaching one of the leading groups of entrepreneurs—female founders.

Inequity in Small Business Lending

Better-qualified black and Hispanic testers who shopped for small business loans at Los Angeles area bank branches were treated worse than less qualified white testers, a new study found.

The study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), also found steep declines in government-backed lending to black business owners between 2008 and 2016.

Building Women’s Wealth Through Business Ownership

This report explores ways business ownership can serve as a wealth-building tool for women, explains the systemic barriers impeding women’s ability to build wealth through business ownership, and suggests ways grant makers, policy advocates, and practitioners can intentionally promote wealth-building by entrepreneurial women through business ownership.

The Future of Banking

This report is based on research findings from focus groups and interviews. The focus groups were conducted with LMI individuals in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, and the interviews were done with policy experts, regulators and representatives from the financial services sector. In sharing their experiences with the financial system, we have identified common challenges encountered by LMI consumers of color, and offer recommendations to address on-going barriers to financial inclusion.

Small Business, Big Dreams

Small Business, Big Dreams profiles nine National CAPACD members that serve AAPI small business clients in low-income communities across the country. The work of these community-based organizations is critical to maintaining and promoting the vitality of AAPI neighborhoods. This report provides a more nuanced narrative about the challenges to wealth building through entrepreneurship in low-income AAPI communities.

Microfinance in The United States

Nonprofit research organization MDRC and Grameen America, Inc., the fastest growing nonprofit microfinance organization in the United States, today released the early results of a research study, Microfinance in the United States: Early Impacts of the Grameen America Program. The study, funded by Robin Hood, is the most rigorous, independent, third-party evaluation of group microfinance in the United States, assessing Grameen America’s program, a microfinance model that provides small loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to launch or expand small businesses. 

Shaping Small Business Lending Policy

With limited financial sophistication, entrepreneurial consumers approach the financial marketplace more like retail financial consumers than like business customers. However, an assumption of both legislators and regulators is that business borrowers are more financially savvy than consumer borrowers and thus do not require protections that are as broad reaching. This gap between marketplace policy protections and the lived reality of the vast majority of small business entrepreneurs sets the stage for entrepreneurial consumers to fall through the regulatory cracks, creating the potential for exploitation and abuse. This situation may be exacerbated for minority entrepreneurs, who belong to protected classes that generally are more vulnerable to exploitation in marketplaces, including the small business lending marketplace. This article details the current status of the policy gap relative to minority entrepreneurial consumers and presents a matched-pair mystery shopping study to demonstrate the critical need for reliable, primary data to inform regulatory agencies as they work to implement appropriate protections to ensure equal access to credit across the small business lending marketplace.

Bank Credit to Small Businesses

In February 2019, the Office of Advocacy published a fact sheet titled “Small Business Facts: What Is the Status of Bank Credit to Small Businesses?” written by Victoria Williams, Research Economist. The fact sheet finds that small business lending growth lagged behind large business lending growth from 2016 to 2017. While small banks had higher shares of small business loans relative to their assets than large banks, large banks issued the majority of small business loans overall. Read the fact sheet to learn more.