Are you a small business owner with concerns or problems with access to credit needed to fund and grow your business? A federal regulator hopes to help.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday launched an inquiry to identify the financing needs of small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities.
“Small businesses fuel America’s economic engine, create jobs and nurture communities. Yet little is known about how well the lending market serves their financing needs,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement announcing a formal request for information. “This inquiry will help us learn how we can best fulfill our duty to collect and report information on small business lending.”
The consumer watchdog plans to examine how potential lenders define and quantify small businesses and the impact that process has on credit applications. The CFPB also will study the sources small businesses typically contact for credit, and examine the types of information the lenders collect during the loan application process.
The agency is seeking comments from small businesses, consumer groups, community development organizations, bank and non-bank lenders, regulators and other interested parties. The comment period will end 60 days after the request for information is officially published in the Federal Register, the CFPB said.
The agency also issued a white paper on small businesses and lending that focused in part on information gaps about credit access.
The CFPB’s request comes amid allegations by Capitol Hill Republicans that the post-financial crisis legislation that created the consumer watchdog agency has made credit access more expensive for small businesses.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc
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