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Bankers Survey Reveals if the Obama $30 Billion Plan Will Work

by Robert Wagner on February 10, 2010

The Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices Gives Insight If The Obama’s $30 Billion Small Business Plan Will Work.

The latest survey sheds some light on the current condition of the lending industry. What it reviles is a decline in demand for commercial real estate loans and an increase in loan standards.

The Obama plan sounds like a great idea, giving access to capital to the local community banks. The plan would call for TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Fund) fund that has been repaid to go to commercial banks for the purpose of lending to local small business owners. However, upon a closer look at the survey of senior loan officers, particularly of Other Banks (Other than large banks) shows some interesting numbers that could doom the Obama plan.

Two of the questions asked in the survey where, in the past three months has your standards for approving loans changed, and has the demand changed.

The standard for approving loans according to the survey has increased 28% over the past three months. In other words, 28% of the banks have made it harder to obtain financing.

Another question that was asked of the Senior Bankers was if the demand has increased. 40% of the banks reported a decline in demand. The supply side seems not to be the problem. If small businesses were in need of capital, this number would be increasing.

Robert Reich, the University of California at Berkeley economist  and former Labor Secretary to Clinton, commented on the  Obama’s small business plan

“Targeted help to small businesses is useful. But they will not and cannot succeed without consumers out there who have money in their pockets,” he said in an unconfirmed  interview.

The conclusion is that it is harder to get financing and fewer businesses are requesting loans. Although this is raw data that is on the Feds Website and can be contributed to many different factors, the numbers are showing a struggling commercial loan market.

Having more capital to lend will not be the answer. Many small businesses are looking for paying customers. Consumers spending money at a local business will increase demand for loans, not more money to lend. Although the conditions could change, supply-side economics many not work for the current President like it did with Reagan.

Read more about the Obama $30 billion small business plan

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