Inside these posts: Small business

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Snow hits home: Big companies, malls closed

Click here for photos of the 2011 Chicago blizzard

One of the biggest snowstorms in Chicago history has paralyzed businesses across the region.

The blizzard, which dumped more than 20 inches of snow on the Chicago area Tuesday night and Wednesday, will have a significant economic impact, as banks, retailers and other companies that rely on face-to-face contact with their customers were closed Wednesday or struggling to open.


Downtown businesses were mostly abandoned Wednesday morning.

One of the only lights emanating from the Thompson Center came from the Dunkin’ Donuts. The newsstand, the salon, the nail parlor, which usually bustle with commuters from the Clark/Lake stop, were closed and darkened. Get the full story »

November inventories see decline but sales rise

Businesses at the wholesale level trimmed their stockpiles in November for the first time in nearly a year, even though sales rose for a fifth consecutive month.

Local bank whose CEO met with Obama must raise capital

A Chicago-area bank whose chief executive met with President Obama last December to discuss small-banking matters has been ordered by the nation’s thrift regulator to maintain certain capital levels, among other things.

Matt Gambs, who in 2008 joined Schaumburg-based Diamond Bank as its new chief executive, said that earlier this week members of its board of directors, including existing investors, pumped $1 million in fresh capital into the closely held lender, which also has a branch near the intersection of Clark and North in Chicago. Get the full story »

Fed’s Hoenig: ‘Too big to fail” hurts small banks

The viability of community banks is threatened by policies that have conferred “too big to fail” status on larger banks, reducing their cost of capital, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig said on Monday.

Hoenig, in prepared testimony to a field hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations here, said the community bank model was still viable, especially if allowed to compete on an equal footing with larger banks. Get the full story »

Poll: Small business makes small move on adding jobs

U.S. small businesses inched closer to adding jobs in July, a survey showed Thursday, offering a faint glimmer of hope for the long-suffering labor market a day before government employment data is released.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s monthly employment poll showed that 10 percent of small businesses added jobs last month, up from 5 percent in June, while 15 percent cut. The rest made no change to their labor force. Get the full story »

GOP blocks $30 billion in aid to small business

U.S. Senate Republicans Thursday blocked a $30-billion plan to help community banks boost lending to small businesses, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s election-year battle to reduce unemployment.

Tempers ran high as Democratic leaders failed to muster the 60 votes needed to  pass the measure. Republicans were upset that Democrats shut them out from offering a number of amendments to the package, that also includes about $12 billion in tax breaks for small businesses.

Small biz faces roughest business climate in years

Small businesses are facing the most difficult business climate in three years, according to a report released today.

Among the most troubling signs: Four out of every 10 small business owners are unable to secure adequate financing, according to the National Small Business Association’s mid-year economic report.

Indeed, it has been 17 years since this many small businesses have had such a difficult time getting loans, said Todd McCracken, president of the Washington D.C.-based organization. Get the full story »

Small business loan program runs out of cash

Government-backed loans to the nation’s small businesses dropped sharply last month after a key federal program ran out of money.

The reduction in lending comes as officials are scrambling to find a way to stimulate the small-business sector. On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said loosening credit to small businesses should be a priority for banks and policymakers.

Bernanke: Lending to small business vital

Boosting credit to struggling small businesses is vital to keep a tepid U.S. recovery on track but wary banks can’t be forced to lend from their bountiful reserves, Federal Reserve officials said Monday.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke underlined the need for companies — many working their way back to health from the deep recession — to be able to get loans when they need them to expand and to hire. Get the full story »

Sam’s Club to offer small business loans

Wal-Mart’s warehouse chain Sam’s Club says it is offering small business loans of up to $25,000 to its business members.