Rep. Peter Welch supported and the House passed legislation late Thursday to increase lending to small businesses and promote job growth.
By a vote of 241 to 182, the House passed the Small Business Lending Fund Act (H.R. 5297), which creates a $30 billion lending fund to help community banks leverage up to $300 billion in lending for small businesses. The legislation is projected to save taxpayers $1 billion over 10 years.
"During the small business roundtables I held earlier this year, I heard again and again that the number one problem facing small businesses is lack of access to credit. Vermont entrepreneurs want to expand their businesses and create jobs, but they simply don't have the capital they need," Welch said. "By leveraging private investment, this fund will spur lending and provide Vermont business owners the tools they need to succeed."
H.R. 5297 creates a new lending fund designed to spur job growth by empowering community banks to borrow an amount equal to five percent of their assets in order to provide loans to small businesses. It creates a State Small Business Credit Initiative Program that would provide funding for new and existing state lending programs. And it establishes a new Small Business Administration program to provide $1 billion in financing to support early stage small businesses through true equity financing.
Welch has sought increased small business lending since Vermont business owners highlighted access to capital as their greatest need during a series of small business roundtables in St. Albans, Rutland and White River Junction.