According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), almost half of all private sector employees work for small businesses, which means if the employment picture is ever going to improve in this country, small businesses are going to play a major role. This makes what Bank of America is doing to help small businesses so important.
Today, the bank announced it has hired more than 30 small business bankers across the greater Chicago area to provide guidance to local small business owners. The additions are part of the company’s previously announced plan to hire 1,000 small business bankers nationwide.
Helped retain 14,000 jobs
Bank of America is also a leading bank supporting Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), providing more than $200 million to finance small businesses that cannot qualify for traditional loans. The CDFI grant program, created in 2010 to unlock low-cost Federal micro-capital for small businesses, has allowed CDFIs to access more than $102 million, serving over 9,000 local businesses and helping to retain more than 14,000 jobs.
Findings from the recently released Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country, revealed that only 29 percent of Chicago small business owners consider themselves to be very financially savvy. The remaining respondents admitted to needing occasional or ongoing expert help.
“We have heard from small business owners that they want more personalized guidance from their banking relationship,” said Jay Miller, the Chicago-based Small Business Banking executive for Bank of America’s central region. “Our bankers will be meeting with small business clients across Chicago to understand every aspect of their cash flow needs better."
171,000 Small Businesses in Chicago Area
According to a 2011 SBA report, there are more than one million small businesses in Illinois. These businesses represent 98.3 percent of all employers, and almost half of the private-sector workforce. Moreover, there are more than 171,000 small businesses in the Chicago area, with 3.6 million Chicago area residents working for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
In the first half of 2012, Bank of America extended more than $292.1 million to small businesses across Illinois. This includes $115.2 million in new originations.