As Congress sets out to negotiate the latest COVID-19 stimulus package, Opportunity Fund is advocating for Members to reauthorize the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)–a tried and true means of driving resources to the smallest and most vulnerable businesses. If reauthorized, SSBCI can be a critical life raft for our nation’s struggling entrepreneurs.
See below for our letter to Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services regarding the importance of reauthorizing SSBCI.
Dear Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry,
On behalf of Opportunity Fund, a US Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and leader in small business lending, I am writing to express our strong support for the $10 billion reauthorization of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. Opportunity Fund’s mission is to provide affordable capital to underserved entrepreneurs, like women, minority, or low-to-moderate income (LMI) business owners, who are often left behind by traditional lenders. SSBCI is critical for us to meet the capital needs of entrepreneurs as our nation strives to recover in the months and years ahead.
While the Payment Protection Program (PPP) has been a critical resource for small businesses during this crisis, it is not a long-term solution. SSBCI was originally crafted by Congress in response to the 2008 Great Recession and supported state programs designed to help provide credit and investments in small businesses. From 2011 onward, Opportunity Fund participated as a SSBCI-supported lender and was the most prolific user of the SSBCI Capital Access Program nationally–accounting for over 4,700 loans in California with an average loan size of $12,000. We have since expanded our lending to 46 states through innovative FinTech partnerships and can significantly scale our lending and impact if SSBCI is reauthorized.
SSBCI leverages significant private sector dollars, gives states flexibility to meet local and regional needs, and is a scalable solution for helping our nation’s small businesses recover and grow. Furthermore, it is a tried and true system of ensuring resources reach the smallest and most underserved businesses–those that have been hit hardest by the pandemic and often received little to no PPP funding. According to an analysis from the US Treasury Department, 80% of SSBCI funds supported firms with 10 or fewer employees, and by 2015, 42% of SSBCI-supported businesses were located in LMI communities.
SSBCI makes it possible for mission-based lenders, organizations who have long served historically disenfranchised communities, to say “yes” to more small businesses and get them the capital they need to survive, re-build, and prosper.
I urge Congress to move swiftly in reauthorizing SSBCI in its latest stimulus package. Thank you for the opportunity to share our expertise and input.
Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Fund