When Banks Say No, Microlenders Say Yes

The New York Times:

When banks say no, owners of cash-starved small-businesses aren’t giving up on finding loans.

Many are turning to microlenders for the money they need to meet the payroll, buy supplies, pay the rent and keep the lights and heat on.

These microlenders – community-based nonprofit lenders that draw on a varying mix of financing from the Small Business Administration; other federal, state and local government agencies; and some philanthropies – say small businesses and entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking financing as home equity loans, credit lines and other loans have all but evaporated.

Microlenders around the country say they are encountering a rush of inquiries and an increase in applications for their loans, which usually range from $5,000 to $35,000.

“Our office used to get three or four calls a day,” said Paige Sato, director of business development at UCEDC, in Union, N.J. “In January, we got eight calls in two hours wanting to know about microloans.” In all, she said, she received 72 inquiries for the month, twice as many as in December. Her agency, formerly the Union County Economic Development Corporation, is one of four nonprofit microlenders in the state.

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