Here at the start of 2013, as the U.S. jobs market continues its slow,
not-very-impressive-but-nonetheless-forward march, one area of the economy still
lags. Banks have only recently begun to lend again. . Both individuals and small businesses have faced tight credit standards enforced by risk-averse banks; mortgages have been hard to obtain, and small business credit has been tighter yet. From 2008
to 2011, loans to small businesses fell 20 percent. The net effect has been to
mute an already muted recovery.
Kim Capeloto at the recent Columbian Economic Forecast Breakfast referenced that Riverview Bank had provided 45 million in loans since their announcement last summer of a commitment to loan 100 million dollars into the local Clark County economy.
This is a good sign, but many small businesses and entrepreneurs are seeking other sources. The Pub Talk Events produced by the Columbia River Economic Development Council are a great example of how the local business, investment, and capital communities are attempting to provide both monetary and intellectual support and capital to start-ups or early stage companies to help move them forward.
I was sitting in a meeting on Friday with a well known local business development consultant who said he’s been amazed at the creativity, tenacity and success rate that his small business clients have displayed at finding alternatives to bank lenders.
Here is a link to an article in Rueters that gives a more detailed picture of what is happening across the US and literally across the world. We may actually be seeing the start of a new trend, where capital sourcing becomes more democratized and disrupts traditional models as we’ve experienced in other areas of the economy where technology has been applied. Is it really a surprise to see this trend? Americans from the beginning have had to find ways to raise capital and nurture their local economies. We are just harnessing that same spirit with our most up to date tools.