SBA’s Office of Advocacy Criticized as Big Business Mouthpiece

Advocacy groups say the government is identifying the correct issues but suggesting the wrong solutions.

Source : Freepik

April 5, 2021

Author : Alex Bustillos

The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) released a jaw-dropping press release this week which outlines how the plummets in the banking environment have harmed small businesses, and the shortcomings of federal agencies supposed to address it.

According to the organization, only 4,600 banks exist in the United States today. The number of commercial banks in the U.S. has declined 68 percent since 1980.

According to a recent report by the Office of Advocacy, an office within the Small Business Administration, this is because “many smaller sized banks have disappeared during this period, via mergers or failures.”

AMIBA notes that the Office of Advocacy has “long been criticized for being the mouthpiece for big business interests through its regulatory authority, research, and policy recommendations.”

Frank Knapp Jr., coordinator of Reform the SBA, told AMIBA that the report is “yet another example of the agency’s big-business leanings.”

While the Office of Advocacy acknowledges the importance of small loans to small businesses, which in turn has a massive effect on employment growth and job creation, its solutions seem to miss the heart of the problem. 

The office admits there are “potential risks of relying on large banks to fill in for small banks’ role in providing the small business loans” because large banks view loans to small businesses as riskier and requiring more resources for monitoring. 

The Office of Advocacy report says they recognize the importance “of small banks and the connection between small bank success, and small business success.” Yet, they claim that “small business loan supply availability will be heavily and increasingly dependent on large banks filling in for small banks’ role.”

“The Office of Advocacy’s solution to the problem is to do more of the same,” Knapp said. “Experience tells us that loan guarantee programs are nice, but they can’t make any bank do a small business loan if it doesn’t want to.”

“Clearly the Office of Advocacy is still carrying the water for big business, large banks in this case, even after it was scolded by the Government Accountability Office for internal procedural problems that don’t allow the voice of real small businesses to be heard,” said David Levine, co-founder and president of the American Sustainable Business Council. “Solutions exist for increasing small business loans including more funding for Community Development Financial Institutions and direct small loans from the SBA.”

Category : Small Business Enterprises Economic Stimulus Entrepreneurialism Federal Government Market Watch Monopolization Small Business Administration

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