Kamala Harris is Quietly Pushing Loans for Small & Diverse Businesses

Disadvantaged businesses have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden Administration is making them a top priority.

Source : Vice President Kamala Harris on Twitter

April 23, 2021

Author : Patty Rodriguez

Over the course of President Joe Biden’s election campaign, he repeatedly promised to put minority and women-owned businesses at the forefront of his recovery agenda. As we have noted at Contractor News, minority-owned businesses have often been left out of recovery efforts like the Payment Protection Program due to the fact that many don’t have strong banking relationships, making it harder for them to get loans even with good credit scores.

In an effort to address this problematic trend, Congress passed $12 billion in funding for CDFIs in December. Then, the Biden Administration secured $10 billion “state and Tribal governments to fund small business credit expansion initiatives” in the American Rescue Plan stimulus package.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will likely partner with state and Tribal governments to ensure these funds are handed out to underserved businesses, afterall, that’s their role.

According to a new report by CBS, Small Business Administration official Patrick Kelley called CDFIs “trusted agents” that “play a critical role in lending to underserved communities.”

"We have been working with CDFIs to redouble our efforts to assist eligible borrowers in these communities and ensure small businesses in communities of color and underserved communities can better access the PPP and other COVID-19 emergency assistance programs," he added.

"It was one of the first issues the vice president raised with me after she swore me in – the importance of Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs)," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CBS.

While Harris was still a Senator and the December bill was passed, she was reportedly a major champion of the CDFI funds. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) drafted a bill that went on to become the roadmap for the CDFI funds in the coronavirus relief bill. He said Harris was one of his best allies and that she “completely understands the challenges that go with most of the Black and Brown communities. We lost 440,000 Black businesses, the majority of which were sole proprietors, and they didn't get as much access to PPP because African Americans didn't have traditional banking relationships. So, she did her due diligence and became a big advocate.”

CBS reports that Whites House and Treasury Department officials say Harris and Yellen have “remained in close contact on this issue and also held two formal meetings to ensure funds would be allocated to communities that need them most.”

The outlet further reports that Harris “has also been seeking help from the private sector to bring wealth and opportunity into underserved communities.” White House officials tell the outlet that Harris has spoken over the phone with the CEO of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase about the matter.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Minority Business Enterprises Small Business Enterprises Women Business Enterprises Coronavirus Pandemic Economic Stimulus Federal Government Small Business Administration State Government Treasury Department

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