The long and winding road of passing legislation to stimulate the small-business sector came to a successful end this week as the House voted to send the Small Business Jobs Act (H.R. 5297) to the president. ICBA worked closely with Congress to pass the legislation since the introduction of the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund. With the help of the nation’s community banks and ICBA’s affiliated state and regional community banking associations, we succeeded in seeing this thing through.
While the $30 billion fund dedicated to expanding small-business lending has been the most high-profile provision in this bill, there are other important measures as well. The law extends Recovery Act provisions that increase government guarantees on Small Business Administration loans and reduce borrower fees, permanently increases loan limits on SBA loans and expands the SBA’s trade and export finance programs. It also provides $12 billion in targeted tax cuts for the nation’s small businesses.
After a series of fits and starts and continued partisan wrangling threatened to derail this common-sense legislation, it was the persistence of ICBA and the nation’s community banks that made the difference. Even as Congress has its eyes on November, with many incumbents fearing for their political lives, lawmakers were able to rally around Main Street thanks in no small part to the reputation and resilience of the nation’s community banks.
Ben Franklin said that energy and persistence conquer all things. Fortunately for the small-business sector and our economic recovery, ICBA and community bankers don’t quit.
What do the opportunities offered by this legislation mean for your community bank?