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Main Street businessowners & Rep. Bill Foster call for Wall Street reform

Date: 
02/05/2010

Survey finds small business owners at odds with big banks and DC business lobby on financial reform, business owners join Congressman Bill Foster in Aurora

AURORA, ILLINOIS – On Friday, the Illinois Main Street Alliance joined Congressman Bill Foster to release a new report on small business owners' experiences during the financial crisis and their support for financial reform. The report, based on a survey of more than 1,200 small business owners from 13 states including Illinois, found that nearly a third of small business owners have had to pay out of pocket to keep their businesses afloat in the last year and a half, and another third have seen their business credit card terms deteriorate since the recession hit.

14th District Representative Bill Foster, who started a small business himself, said, “I know how hard it is to build a business, and I know that small businesses are the engine of job creation that will put our country back on a course of prosperity.” Foster spoke in favor of financial reforms and promised to defend small business interests as the debate continues in Congress.

Both Houses of Congress have responded to President Obama’s call for changes to the financial system and more help for small businesses. The House has passed a financial reform bill, HR 4173, which includes the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a critical provision that creates a uniform regulatory structure for lenders. The Senate Banking Committee is readying a bill for markup that will offer tax credits to businesses who hire new workers, with a vote coming as soon as Monday according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The upper house has yet to introduce it’s version of financial reform.

Relief couldn’t come soon enough for local business owners suffering in the current credit market.  Nick Moriarty owns Scout, a vintage furniture shop in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. His interest rate started at 9%, but more than doubled to 23% before he pulled the plug. Citibank still sends him letters trying to earn his business back, but Moriarty says, “Don’t insult me. I have a credit score over 800. I’ve never missed a single payment in my entire life. I’m the dream financial customer and they still did this to me. Nobody is safe.” Moriarty, and other small business supporters of financial reform, are available for comment on their experiences and the contents of the report.

Small business owners may prove to be a pivotal voice in this debate, with the DC business lobby siding with the country’s biggest banks to oppose financial reforms. Small firms will continue to pay the price for reckless action on Wall Street until meaningful financial reform is achieved.