After being subjected to a summer of Republican-sponsored congressional meetings claiming five years of the Dodd-Frank Act have hurt the economy, Democrats went on the offensive Thursday against charges the law has shrunk small business lending.
California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu told a House Small Business Committee hearing that small business loans are up 19 percent this year over the same period in 2014.
She added at the same time that the Federal Reserve is reporting bank loan standards for small business have eased considerably since the recession.
However, an expert brought into the session by Republican committee members came with his own conclusions and his own numbers.
Harvard researcher Marshall Lux said Dodd-Frank and a tepid recovery were to blame for a 10 percent drop in outstanding loans to small businesses from banks from 2010 to 2014. He said the biggest drop, 17 percent, came from small community banks, which are proportionately facing the biggest financial compliance burden from Dodd-Frank.
Julia Gordon, a liberal activist and the senior director of housing and consumer finance at the Center for American Progress, said one of the factors stifling small business lending by small banks is that their officers don’t know about the freedoms they have from the law.
“A lot of small banks don’t realize what exemptions they have from Dodd-Frank,” she said. “I have [heard] from a lot of banks they can’t do this kind of loan or that kind of loan and that’s not right.”