On behalf of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, I'd like to welcome you to today's forum, Addressing the Financing Needs of Small Businesses.
This forum has been designed to provide a platform for sharing information and perspectives to help the Federal Reserve, and other key stakeholders, address the immediate and longer-term credit needs of small businesses. To do so, we have gathered a national audience of key decision makers, including leaders from community development financial institutions, banks, small businesses and trade groups, and government agencies as panelists and participants.
The forum follows a series of more than forty small business meetings that were organized by Federal Reserve System's Community Affairs Offices across the country. Some of these meetings were small focus group gatherings or listening sessions. Other, larger meetings were more formal and focused on a particular aspect of small business financing, such as minority entrepreneurship, Hispanic-owned businesses, or Federal guarantee loan programs. Whether small or large, these meetings brought together small business owners, representatives from small business trade groups, financial institutions, bank supervision staff, community development financial institutions, and small business support service providers to discuss ways to improve access to credit for viable small businesses.
By undertaking this outreach, the Federal Reserve sought to deepen understanding of the many dimensions of financing challenges that small business are facing. In addition, these meetings raised promising practices and suggestions for improving small businesses' access to credit. We look forward to hearing your perspectives today as we continue to gather information that will help us and other stakeholders craft solutions and responses. We thank you for your participation, and look forward to an informative discussion.
Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System