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CFO Sink Supports Small Business Lending Initiative to Help Create Jobs in Florida

10/23/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO Alex Sink today discussed the potential impact of the White House’s Small Business Lending Initiative on Florida’s economy during a conference call with business reporters. According to the US Small Business Administration, over 91% of all employers in the State of Florida are small businesses.
 
“I’m encouraged by the detailed plan President Obama released this week to strengthen small businesses—this is the kind of growth-oriented, business-minded policy we need more of in Florida,” said CFO Sink. “With Florida’s unemployment rate hitting 11% and with small businesses struggling to gain access to capital here, the focus on supporting small businesses at a national level could not come at a better time for our state. Implementing new and innovative economic policies that create more jobs is key to our economic recovery”
 
During the call, CFO Sink outlined three measures she will take in her support of the recent small business lending initiative:
  • CFO Sink will request Florida’s inclusion in the upcoming conference to be hosted by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and SBA Administrator Karen Mills about new ways to make credit more readily available to small businesses.
  • CFO Sink will contact community banks in Florida to encourage their participation in the program and increase small business lending to help create jobs.
  • CFO Sink will ask Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Tom Cardwell for his office to monitor small business lending activity and provide quarterly reports to the Financial Services Commission.
The White House plan released Wednesday includes steps to provide small businesses with access to credit by supporting community bank lending, including improving access to credit for small businesses by providing lower-cost capital to community banks that submit a plan to increase small business lending. According to the Office of Financial Regulation, of the 58 national commercial banks and 203 state-chartered commercial banks currently operating in Florida, only six national and 13 state-chartered banks have assets totaling over $1 billion.
 
The plan calls upon congress to raise lending limits on Small Business Administration 7(a) and 504 loans from $2 million to $5 million, up to $5.5 million for manufacturing, and raises lending limits on the Microloan program from $35,000 to $50,000.  Additionally, the White House has requested convening a Treasury-SBA Small Business Lending Conference to work with regulators, lenders, and congress to ensure access to credit for small businesses. For more information visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/small_business_final.pdf.
 
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.