We’ve been offering strategies for dealing with the repercussions of the credit crunch for months. So a blog post today on the Huffington Post by Palo Alto Software founder and business guru Tim Berry on the ongoing human impact caught my attention.
In it, Berry talks about the bleak results of a survey he conducted last week on the effects of the credit crunch on small business owners. “The down numbers,” he writes, “aren’t likely to surprise anybody, although they do confirm the generally gloomy picture… Only 6% of the owners had loan applications approved. Another 7% have loans pending. But 36% of them applied for loans, but 64% of those who applied were rejected.” But for Berry, it’s the stories of a handful of the 300-plus respondents with seemingly healthy businesses that are particularly telling. They include the 64-year-old owner of a five-employee 27-year-old business who says the bank refused to acknowledge his $3 million recording studio as an asset. He’s predicts he’ll have to close. Then there’s the woman whose 30-year-old concrete company has 25 employees, but couldn’t get a loan for less than $50,000. Responding to Berry’s survey, she writes (in part):
We took out a $90,000 SBA loan a few years ago and it is paid down to $17,000. We now can’t get a loan. I am heartsick. My husband and I have been married for 44 years and have been homeowners for 43 years. It looks like we will have to face bankruptcy and foreclosure even though we have been offered a contract that needs 15,000 yards of concrete.
Berry concludes: “And I think that’s what small business credit crunch really means. It’s not numbers in the abstract, and it’s not banks making bad loans: it’s banks not making good loans.”