Main Street Wants Reforms To Defend Against Trouble On Wall Street

NJBIZ — Thursday, January 28, 2010

By João-Pierre Ruth

NJ Main Street Alliance, a coalition of 600 small-business owners across the state, released a report Thursday afternoon showing small businesses support strong financial reform.

According to the survey of 1,200 small-business owners from more than a dozen states, including New Jersey, 15 of every 16 responders said not enough steps were taken to shield small business from another Wall Street collapse.

Some 69 percent of responders supported passing strong financial reform, while 67 percent supported the creation of a consumer financial protection agency. They also expressed discouragement over the continuing lack of financing available in spite of the support banks have received.

Kim Chung, who owns a property management firm, a consulting business, liquor stores and restaurants in Essex County, said he had been turned down by several small-business lenders, only to gain approval on a loan at rates higher than he could afford.

"I was looking for $250,000 by financing one of my properties that is worth $1.2 million," he said.

Martha Press, owner of Lafayette Gallery LLC, doing business as Farnsworth Gallery, in Bordentown, said she is struggling to cover the business lost during the recession while paying her bills. "I owe quite a bit of credit-card debt," she said. "If I had a small-business loan of $50,000, I could consolidate a lot of debt — with a lower interest rate, hopefully."

Press said opening more credit access to business owners could help her survive: "You can't drive enough sales to cover what we've lost over the last six to eight months."

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