Pa. Legislative Latino Caucus weighs in on Biden’s small business lending

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A record $3 billion in lending to Latino-owned small businesses has been announced by the Biden-Harris Administration. 

The action is the latest taken by the administration, which has helped double the number of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to Latino-owned businesses since 2020. 

“It’s correcting the wrongs of our past,” said Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Philadelphia, chairman of the PA Legislative Latino Caucus. “For many years, areas like north Philadelphia have been red lined, not just for acquisition of property but even for business lending. You have never seen the level of commitment to helping these communities have access to capital. That is extremely important as we ask them to stabilize their own communities. 

“This money will be extremely helpful to get out more macro loans to business owners that are breaking even. They’re risking it all, they’re providing for their families, and they’re living up to the American dream. I applaud President Biden for taking on this very important initiative.” 

Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, D-Berks, is Latino Caucus secretary and a small business owner. She said there is a need to address gaining access to funding sources and what it takes to be eligible to access funding. 

“Having not only additional funding for our small businesses, but we also need more education,” she said. “Our Latino community for the most part is very hard working. They risk it all, they go in 100%, not only to provide for their families but they’re obviously also making major contributions to our local economy. 

“More needs to be done to level the playing field so that we have access to funding so that credit is not the only thing looked at. We have to learn to look at the entire picture of every individual who is pursuing a business.” 

There are 1.1 million Latinos living in Pennsylvania, and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, who announced the new lending plan for Latino-owned small businesses, said in a statement that the U.S. is experiencing a small business boom driven significantly by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Latino community.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is working to reverse historic underinvestment in Latinos to unleash their full potential and advance our economy and global competitiveness,” said Guzman.

The SBA’s steps to increase access to its core capital programs among Latino entrepreneurs include launching the Administration’s cross-country Latino Prosperity Tour. Guzman said the SBA will continue to “seek to close long-standing gaps in lending to Latino-owned small businesses.”

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