Shedding Light on Small Business Lending

As we’ve written about previously, Opportunity Fund is a big supporter of the work that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is doing on behalf of American consumers. We take a particular interest in their work in the area of small business lending data collection to shed light on predatory and discriminatory practices. Last month we formally weighed in on their Request for Information regarding how best to gather information from lenders who serve small business owners, with a particular focus on minority and woman business owners. For an overview of the unexpected opposition to this common-sense effort, check out this Op-Ed coauthored by Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia.

In summary, Opportunity Fund commented that:

• We strongly support this effort to build a national data set of small business finance, which should include all types of financing from bank loans to merchant cash advances and everything in between.

• All types of lenders should be required to report, including mission based lenders like Opportunity Fund.

• The CFPB should work closely with other federal agencies as much as possible to minimize any duplication of data collection requirements for lenders.

• In addition to collecting data on who is (and isn’t) being lent to, it is critical to have data on the pricing and terms that different business owners are receiving.

Our full comments are available here.

To multiply our voice, Opportunity Fund also signed onto letters by our coalition partners – the Responsible Business Lending CoalitionCalifornia Reinvestment CoalitionOpportunity Finance Network as well as a letter from California small business supporters. Collectively, these letters represent over 100 organizations, both lenders and small business advocates. We all believe that the American public and especially small business owners deserve to know more about the financing options as well as the gaps that stand in the way of making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

This blog series will update you on the various challenges that the CFPB faces as well as efforts by Opportunity Fund and others to help preserve this important federal agency. Subscribe for more policy updates from Opportunity Fund.