WBEZ | Bernita Johnson-Gabriel http://www.wbez.org/tags/bernita-johnson-gabriel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Dear Chicago: Get banks to lend again http://www.wbez.org/story/banks/dear-chicago-get-banks-lend-again <p><br/><div id="PictoBrowser120123124504">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "530", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: Get banks to lend again"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628999022031"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "top"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "8"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123124504"); </script><p>Chicago residents might not realize it, but some of their favorite neighborhood retail strips are in trouble – partly because lenders have tightened access to credit.</p><div>Banks nationwide have been reluctant to lend since the financial crisis dried up credit and made almost any loan seem like a risky proposition. The situation’s hit small businesses especially hard.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The City of Chicago does make financial resources available to small businesses in need of capital through the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/ec_dev/svcs/apply_for_a_smallbusinessimprovementfundgrant.html">Small Business Improvement Fund</a>. The SBIF provides upwards of $50,000 in grant money to owners in select neighborhoods. Owners must be looking to make physical improvements to their business or property. The SBIF is reimbursable; business owners must spend the money up front to qualify for the grant. That proves to be a stumbling block for many operations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One woman who relates with small businesses’ plight is Bernita Johnson-Gabriel. She lives in the South Side’s Bronzeville neighborhood and heads up the Quad Cities Community Development Corporation, a group that provides business support and other services in and around Bronzeville. She says that neighborhood businesses lack capital. In this commentary Johnson-Gabriel explains why she thinks the city should pressure banks to loosen their grip and start lending again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s <a href="http://chicagopublicmedia.org/partnerships/our-partners">Partnership Program</a>. Bernita Johnson-Gabriel was nominated for the series by the <a href="http://www.metroplanning.org/">Metropolitan Planning Council</a>.</div></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/banks/dear-chicago-get-banks-lend-again