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CFO Sink Stands up for Florida Small Businesses to FDIC Chairman

2/3/2010

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
Tallahassee – Florida CFO Alex Sink today called for more small business lending and a balanced approach to lending guidelines in a letter sent to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair.  CFO Sink called on FDIC Chairman Bair to help Florida’s small businesses gain better access to the resources they need at a meeting of the Florida Bankers Association last week.
 
“It’s so important that this money is put in the hands of responsible business owners who will in turn create jobs and grow our economy,” CFO Sink wrote.  “I am asking for swift execution of plans that would accomplish the goal you and I discussed last week of creating an environment that allows our small businesses to get appropriate loans they need and deserve.  This goal has to be realized sooner rather than later.”
 
CFO Sink supported the updated federal initiative announced yesterday that will provide $30 billion in loans to small businesses.  She has taken the lead on encouraging Florida’s community banks to give small businesses the tools the need to create more jobs and a stronger economy for Florida.
A copy of CFO Sink’s letter is copied below:
 
Sheila Bair, Chairman
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
550 17th St. NW
Washington, DC 20429
 
Dear Chairman Bair:
 
I am writing to follow-up on our discussion last week at the Florida Bankers Association meeting about the need for Florida’s small businesses to have access to credit as they work to survive and grow in this tough economy.  I want to thank you for listening to the challenges that the lending institutions in our state are facing.
 
As I previously mentioned in my comments to you, I have heard from small business owners throughout the state that are having significant problems accessing the credit and loans they need. I'm sure you remember what I said loud and clear just last week-- Florida needs a break.
 
I have impressed upon all 167 community banks in Florida the urgent need to help small businesses and will continue to encourage these banks to participate in the federal Small Business Lending Initiatives.  Given that last week you expressed the need for banks to have access to more capital, I hope that the FDIC will join me in encouraging these community banks to utilize the resources available to them.  President Obama’s recent proposal for $30 billion in small business lending only makes this participation more important.
 
Under your leadership, the FDIC has worked to strike a balance of prudent credit practices and legitimate credit needs in other lending areas. I urge you to continue to develop this type of balanced, common-sense approach when it comes to small business lending.
 
Florida’s small businesses need our help. Florida continues to experience near-record unemployment, and given that over 90 percent of businesses in Florida are small businesses, lending to these small businesses will be an essential part of our state’s overall recovery.
 
I hope that you took to heart some of the reports you heard down here in Florida last week.  I ask that you and the FDIC explicitly communicate with examiners and regulators up and down the chain about the need for flexibility and understanding so that these billions of dollars for small businesses go to good use in our state.  It’s so important that this money is put in the hands of responsible business owners who will in turn create jobs and grow our economy.
 
Let me be clear – in no way am I advocating for irresponsible or unwise loans to be made in Florida.  But I am asking for swift execution of plans that would accomplish the goal you and I discussed last week of creating an environment that allows our small businesses to get appropriate loans they need and deserve.  This goal has to be realized sooner rather than later.
 
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of available credit to our state’s economic well-being. I hope I can count on your work to continue to find responsible, yet flexible, ways to ensure that small businesses in Florida are able to thrive. In order to get Florida's economy back on track, it is critical to provide our small businesses with the resources they need.
 
Sincerely,
Alex Sink