Senator Cantwell talks small business in Yakima

Source: KHQ

YAKIMA, Wash -- U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) met with community bankers and small business owners in Yakima, Wednesday afternoon.

"I believe two things are necessary to generate job growth in the private sector: capital and a reasonable expectation of profit," said Cantwell in a statement.

Cantwell is fighting to pass a Small Business Lending Fund of $30 billion. The government funds, which would be repaid, would encourage lending by banks with under $10 billion in assets.

All the money would be returned to the federal government after five years.

The Senate is set to take up small business lending when it returns next week.

"Washington state's innovative small businesses are seeing opportunities for profit. But since the financial crisis began, lending capital has been in dangerously short supply. In fact, commercial and industrial lending by commercial banks and savings and loans has declined by some $315 billion since the financial crisis began. That's one of the main reasons our recovery has been so slow. Creating a Small Business Lending Fund will offset almost all that decline in lending," said Cantwell.

Unemployment in Yakima County has declined from 11.4 percent in February to 9.1 percent in May. Yakima ranked 25th in job growth out of 428 small to mid size metropolitan areas nationwide, from May 2009 to May 2010. But Cantwell said that 9.1 percent unemployment, while an improvement, is still unacceptable.

Under the current bill, seven banks in Yakima would qualify for lending capital from the fund.