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Business Formation Statistics March 2024

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following seasonally adjusted business application and formation statistics for March 2024. The Business Application Series describe the business applications for tax IDs as indicated by applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through filings of the IRS Form SS-4. The Business Formation Series describe employer business formations as indicated by the first instance of payroll tax liabilities for the corresponding business applications.

Hidden Costs of Small Dollar Loans

Earned wage advances (EWA) and cash advance products are small, short-term loans that are typically repaid on the consumer’s next payday either directly from a bank account or as a payroll deduction.
Consumers access these products using an app on their smartphone by linking their bank accounts or by enrolling through their employer. The costs of these very short-term loans are not always transparent to consumers, who often pay fees and leave tips to access money and run the risk of unexpected overdraft fees. Workers who are already living paycheck to paycheck may frequently find themselves pulled into a cycle of reborrowing that depletes their net earnings and further erodes their financial stability. Through a mixed-methods approach, this research aims to better understand the costs and risks of using EWA and cash advances as well as their impacts on the financial lives of low- and moderate-income consumers.

2024 Report on Employer Firms

The 2023 Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS) shows signs of a further waning of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on firms, as challenges closely associated with the pandemic—like supply chain issues—eased between 2022 and 2023. Measures of firm performance remained elevated well above pandemic-era lows and remained steady year-over-year but lagged prepandemic levels. 

Best Practices for Equitable Lending

Development finance agencies (DFAs) are tasked with providing financial services to underserved communities in order to see them grow and thrive. DFAs are defined here as community lenders including but not limited to community development financial institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, banks, private firms, finance authorities, and public agencies across both the private and non-profit sectors. Furthermore, this paper addresses issues faced by commercial lenders in the DFA space. Because no two communities are exactly alike, DFAs often differ in how they address the unique challenges to capital access that small businesses in their communities face. DFAs should consider the unique needs of their communities and borrowers while maintaining focus on responsible lending and risk management.

Redlining the Reservation

The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 sought to address the practice of redlining – the intentional exclusion by banks of minority, immigrant and poor communities from financial services. In late 2023, new CRA regulations specifically included Native Land Areas for the first time. This paper sets a baseline for measuring access to capital by tribal communities in hope of a more just financial services landscape in Indian Country.

A View of PPP from the Inside

This brief examines the financing activity, financial performance, and efficiency and operations of
Opportunity Finance Network’s member CDFIs that served as PPP lenders. These members devoted a
substantial portion of their fiscal year 2021 lending activity to PPP, had higher self-sufficiency and change
in net assets than non-PPP lenders, and achieved high rates of operational efficiency. In the short term,
PPP provided an essential economic lifeline to businesses and communities. It may have also enhanced the
enduring ability of CDFIs to advance mission impact.

Understanding CDFI Financial Data

This brief highlights sector dynamics that provide important context for any analysis of individual CDFIs, and shares suggestions for both the CDFI industry and investors new to the sector for how to improve understanding of CDFI financial metrics.

Healthcare Costs and Small Business

A new national survey of 1,015 small business owners including responses from Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Washington has unveiled a bipartisan concern on critical insights into the challenges and perspectives surrounding healthcare costs.

Contracting, Procurement & Supplier Diversity

Reimagine Main Street, in partnership with 14 other national business organizations, surveyed businesses about their experiences with corporate and government contracting. The results come out against a backdrop of significant Federal investments and a wave of litigation against diverse businesses, business diversity and efforts to increase contracting with diverse-owned and small businesses.

Employee Benefits Offered by Entrepreneurs of Color

This report presents an analysis of employee benefits provision among Hispanic, Black, and White business owners. Leveraging data from the 2022 Entrepreneurship in the Population Survey Project (EPOP), the study exclusively focuses on businesses employing more than 10 individuals to delve deeper into the benefits landscape.