WASHINGTON - In an appeal to ease regulations hampering community banks from lending to small business construction contractors, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to support policies that promote small-business lending and job creation.

In the letter, ABC and ICBA stated, “We support a return to a more balanced regulatory environment that would allow community banks to continue to serve the needs of their local customers - small businesses. In fact, community banks support 31 percent of all small business loans that are less than $1 million. During this time of economic recovery, it is critical that small businesses have access to such funds.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and give Americans a sense of pride and accomplishment in our country. Many community banks have relationships with small construction firms and are anxious to make good loans in order to spur job creation,” the letter noted.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the nation’s December 2010 construction industry unemployment rate was 20.7 percent - more than twice the national average of 9.4 percent. Since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, nearly 1.9 million construction jobs have been lost.

To view a copy of the letter, go to www.abc.org/Government_Affairs/Issues/Legislative_Weekly_Update.aspx.

Publication date:01/31/2011