Given the current state of the credit markets, it was no surprise to read in the Oregonian that “dozens of small-business owners crowded into a downtown meeting room [last] Tuesday to tell U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader that federal efforts to stimulate the economy have skipped over them” and that something must be done to make more money available to responsible small business owners. (Schrader is the chairman of the House Small Business Committee's subcommittee on finance and tax.)
Indeed, a recent opinion piece in the Statesman Journal nailed it: “If Congress and the Obama administration want to get the economy going, they must get money flowing to small businesses. That hasn't happened.”
This is even truer here in Oregon. According to a recent report in the Oregonian, in 2006 (the most current year for which these sorts of stats are available) Oregon is exceptionally dependent on small business. In fact, out of 50 states, we ranked No. 9 in the percentage of people who work for companies with 100 or fewer employees.
So where do you go if you need the money? Increasingly, small business is turning to small banks. Why? Because “many community-based banks and credit unions have shown greater wisdom and restraint than big banks. Those local institutions didn’t get swept up in making risky loans; as a result, they continue making credit-worthy loans to businesses.”
Steve Strauss is the small business columnist for Oregon Business.