Chamber Survey: Small Biz Execs Believe Financial Reform Would Help

Two-thirds of small business executives rely a great deal or a moderate amount on banks to grow and maintain their businesses, according to a survey conducted by Morning Consult for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As a result, more than half of executives say that financial regulatory relief would help small businesses like theirs.

The survey findings were released today at the Chamber’s annual Capital Markets Summit on financing American businesses. They showed a gap between business executives’ aspirations for growth and the availability of affordable credit. For example, 40 percent of small business execs say they plan to increase capital investments and grow employee head count in the next year — numbers that reach or approach two-thirds for companies with between 50 and 500 staff.

And yet, more than 60 percent of executives say that access to affordable credit has not improved since a year prior. Since half of small businesses have taken on debt to grow or maintain operations, a lack of growth in affordable credit options could inhibit growth plans. Of business executives who have taken on debt, most have used commercial loans from banks, credit cards or personal loans from banks.

Despite their perception that affordable credit is not increasing, nearly 9 in 10 small business executives reported positive experiences and satisfaction with their primary lender, and more than half said that a bank was their preferred credit provider. Small businesses also access credit from a variety of banks, including community, regional and large institutions. Nearly three-quarters said they can count on their banks to be trusted advisers for their businesses.

American Bankers Association Chairman Dorothy Savarese — chairman, president and CEO of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Orleans, Mass. — spoke at the Capital Markets Summit on small business’ role in kickstarting growth, and ABA Community Bankers Council Chairman Howard Jaffe, the president and COO of Inland Bancorp, Oak Brook, Ill., participated in a panel on corporate finance.