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COVID: How Many Small Businesses Could $10 Billion Save?

If you’ve read some of our other postings, one of DaLand’s top concerns is ensuring that credit unions occupy a place of relevance that causes their local economies to thrive. One of the values that stems from that is seeing credit unions establish themselves as relevant hubs of financial and member data within their local economies. This will, in turn, fortify the persons, businesses, and economy of the United States in the giving and receiving of democratic access to money and data.

The benefits of credit unions thriving in their local economies are manifold. Without going into great detail here, part of the advantages are tied to how larger, non-local economy oriented FIs are withering this democratic access to funds. The case for this is pertinent in recent news. According to recent on of many articles, small business owners have commented that they are applying for loans and not seeing the results of the payout, or even responses from FIs on the status of their applications. The first round of stimulus payouts has dried up and there are business owners that still need funds to pay employees and keep the lights on.

All the while, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (a very large business) received a $10M loan via a major bank that collected a $100K fee to disburse the funds (here). This is one of many instances. All said and done, the first round of $349B in small business relief loans distributed to approved loan applicants came with banks collection $10B in fees. Yes. That’s $10,000,000,000.

I’ll let you deduce the reasons, but this distribution of tax dollars isn’t democratic. When there is a highly infectious virus spreading across the country, it’s unfortunate that traditional banking practices that favor profits and the profitable persist in infecting our democracy with aristocratic lending and feeing practices.

Rumor has it there’s another $320B on the table. The stakes (no pun intended) are high at this point. Either the banks will get another near $10B paycheck. Or the opportunity is knocking for CUs to find a position of relevance to thrive in the future, and exist as democratic strongholds for serving the “not-so-profitable” members of their local economies.


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