Data On Small Business Loans To Women And Minorities

Category: Small Business Borrowing Published: Tuesday, 08 September 2015 Written by Admin

The idea is that by gathering data on race and gender, it will be easier to enforce fair lending laws.

Banks that are not lending to women and minorities will be very visible, and it will be easy to see how a bank stacks up relative to the competition, which might lead banks to change their lending policies in order to avoid being accused of discrimination.

In addition, gathering all of this data into a central repository should provide for an improved understanding of small business credit needs. Whats broken and needs fixing? Its hard to know when you dont have the data.

How It Works

In practice, the banks are required to ask the business owner whether they have women-owned or minority-owned status, but the company requesting a business loan is not required to provide that information.

When the information is provided and the business identifies itself as being women-owned or minority-owned, the banker is not supposed to consider the status when making its lending decision.

Of course, banks have been collecting this type demographic data for mortgage loans for some time, but this is new for business loans.

Now that Dodd-Frank is in place, small business lenders must collect:

Sounds Good, But Theres Just One Problem

Since the bill was enacted in 2010, you might think that we now have five years worth of amazing small business lending data to analyze.

Unfortunately, youd be wrong.

As the Wall Street Journal points out this week: the agency tasked with enforcing the requirement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), hasnt written a rule to enforce it yet.

The bill was passed in 2010, but, as weve learned, the government moves slowly -- and its often much easier to pass a law than it is to implement it.

However, this particular issue is starting to get some attention. Last week, 83 congressional legislators voiced their desire to see the CFPB get moving on this part of the law (you can see the PDF version of their letter, if you are interested).

We completely agree, and you should too.

Small businesses are a critical driver of economic growth.

When we know how small businesses are doing then we know how the overall economy is likely to perform.

The small-business borrowing index has historically tracked ahead of US gross domestic product growth by two to five months, and is a good predictor of capital spending and job growth, confirms Bill Phelan , founder of PayNet, who regularly publishes the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index based on lending data from 250 leading US lenders.

The Good News

On the bright side, despite the failure of the CFBP to collect better data on small business lending, it does seem that small business lending is thriving.

Earlier this month, the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index hit a historical record high.

Of course, this may be partially driven by growing awareness that the Federal Reserve Bank will soon raise interest rates.

If you own a small business, the best time to borrow is right now.

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