The Obama administration is strongly urging Capitol Hill to add new funds to a popular small-business loan program that is nearly out of money. As part of the $787 billion fiscal stimulus package earlier this year, lawmakers included $375 million to support Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to spur lending through higher guarantees and reduced fees. The administration credits the programs with helping to rejuvenate lending for small businesses. Loan volumes under the program had crashed during the financial crisis last fall and winter. But the programs have been so popular this year that they are running out of money several months early.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner spent most of the day Wednesday with small-business owners and bankers, discussing ways to ease the credit crunch that’s stifling economic recovery on Main Street. Geithner and Karen Mills, head of the Small Business Administration, hosted the Small Business Financing Forum, fulfilling a promise President Barack Obama made when he announced initiatives last month to boost lending to small businesses.
Small business groups and lenders urged Congress to reinstate the 90 percent government guarantee and fee reductions on SBA loans. The economic stimulus bill provided the SBA with $375 million to increase the loan guarantee on the agency’s flagship 7(a) business loans to 90 percent and reduce or eliminate fees on 7(a) loans and 504 loans, which primarily finance real estate. That money, however, has run out.
The Boston Globe rerport that you shouldn’t be surprised to see a retail operation offering Friendly’s Ice Cream menu items along with Bruegger’s Bagels at the same airport location some day. Friendly’s, which is based in Wilbraham, and Brueggers, which is headquartered in Vermont, share a corporate parent in Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Florida private equity firm whose investment portfolio includes such other chains as Fazoli’s Restaurants, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, and Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc.
Chain Leader recently caught up with Applebee’s franchisee Zane Tankel, whose company, Apple-Metro, continues to open restaurants despite the downturn. And why not? His 32 Applebee’s are posting nearly twice the average volume ($2.4 million) of the rest of the casual-dining system. He plans to open five more next year. A Wharton School of Business graduate, he opened his first Applebee’s 16 years ago with partner Roy Raeburn. This year the company was named Franchisee of the Year by the franchisor.
Catherine Clifford reports at CNNMoney.com that eight months after President Obama began prodding the nation’s banks to increase their small business lending, the loan numbers continue to move in the opposite direction. The 22 banks that got the most help from the Treasury’s bailout programs cut their small business loan balances by a collective $10.5 billion over the past six months, according to a government report released Monday. Three of the 22 banks make no small business loans at all. Of the remaining 19 banks, 15 have reduced their small business loan balance since April, when the Treasury department began requiring the biggest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding to report monthly on their small business lending.
California laws give them flexibility on how much information to share with diners and where to post it. But starting in 2011, chains will have to include calorie counts on their menus. Jerry Hirsch reports in the Los Angeles Times that diners at California Pizza Kitchen last week found some enticing new offerings such as white chocolate strawberry cheesecake, Baja-style tacos with sautéed mahi-mahi, and a Moroccan-spiced chicken breast salad.
CAROLINE MCDONALD reports in Property & Casualty National Underwriter that while a majority of large businesses have contingency plans for a pandemic or other catastrophe in place, many small to medium companies do not, which can result in their demise in the wake of a disaster, according to experts.
“Small businesses that don’t have a plan in place generally don’t survive after a disaster, whether it’s a flood or a tornado. We see that anywhere from 40-60 percent of those that are hit like that simply don’t come back to business,” said David Paulison, former executive director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a phone conference with NU Online.
DDIFO has been invited by a number franchise owners in a number of cities to come and meet franchise owners face to face. I am visiting Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners around the country in an effort to learn more about your issues and concerns as well as share with you the vision and mission of DDIFO. The meetings have resulted in many franchise owners joining DDIFO. DDIFO welcomes 100’s of new shops as members from the following states: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Georgia.
Corrinne Hess reports in The Business Journal of Milwaukee – that National health care reform will drive up premium costs in the private health insurance markets, particularly for the young and the healthy, according to data from a series of state-level studies from insurance company WellPoint Inc.