Bernanke: More Needed To Boost Small-Business Lending
By TOM BARKLEY for the Wall Street Journal
July 13, 2010
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged banks and regulators Monday to seek out ways to ensure that small businesses get the credit they need to create jobs. “Making credit accessible to sound small businesses is crucial to our economic recovery and so should be front and center among our current policy challenges,” Mr. Bernanke said in prepared remarks to the Fed’s forum on restoring credit to small businesses.
Declaring small businesses as “central” to tackling unemployment, the Fed chief said not enough is being done to ensure that financially sound companies can obtain loans.
Fed officials have become increasingly worried about the stubbornly high unemployment. The jobless rate edged down to 9.5% in June from 9.7% the previous month. But the economy shed jobs for the first time this year, with nonfarm payrolls falling 125,000 last month. “The formation and growth of small businesses depends critically on access to credit,” Mr. Bernanke said in the text of his remarks. “Unfortunately, those businesses report that credit conditions remain very difficult.”
The forum is the culmination of a fact-finding mission the Fed launched in February to identify how to improve credit access for small firms, which account for about 60% of job creation.