Report: Lending Disparities Cost Fresno Small Businesses Millions of Dollars

By Gabriel Dillard, The Business Journal

FRESNO, CA -- Businesses located in Fresno’s predominantly minority census tracts missed out on loans totaling nearly $79 million from 2012 to 2015.

Looking at Fresno’s low-income census tracts, that figure is $56 million in loans not accessed.

Those are just two findings in a study examining disparities in small business lending conducted by the Woodstock Institute, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on fair lending and financial systems reform.

Businesses in Fresno’s predominantly minority areas made up an average of 31 percent of all businesses in the region, but only received 18.5 percent of all business loans under $100,000 from 2012 to 2015.

The $79 million represents just fewer than 5,700 additional loans that businesses would have received if lending levels were proportionate to their share of all businesses in Fresno.

That disparity is amplified, according to the authors of the report, by the rise of alternative, non-bank “financial technology” online-based lenders often characterized by high-interest rates, unfavorable terms and poor customer service.

 

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