Lowey Marks National Small Business Week with Rockland Business Owners
Congresswoman Lowey was joined by (l to r) Thomas Morley, Director of the Rockland Regional New York State Small Business Development Center, and Bella Vita Authentic Italian Deli owner Michael Giordano and employee Antonio Leto to kick of National Small Business Week and announce legislation to help small businesses with credit card protections.
CONGERS, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, kicked off National Small Business week at Bella Vita Authentic Italian Deli in Congers to discuss her legislation, which would extend personal credit card protections to small businesses, and funding she recently helped secure for the Small Business Administration to support small businesses, which account for 99% of New York businesses.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “To mark National Small Business week, I have introduced the Small Business Credit Card Act to provide small business owners the same consumer protections as individual credit card holders, like eliminating unfair fees and deceptive billing practices. It’s a key step for New York’s small businesses that is, quite frankly, only fair.”
Michael Giordano, Bella Vita Authentic Italian Deli & Catering owner, said, “We all know that small businesses are the backbone of America. It is what has made and continues to make this country great. Credit card companies must give ample and proper notice to any changes to interest rates so businesses can adjust accordingly and not be blindsided by higher interest fees. The higher interest fees could otherwise be used toward growing a business.”
There are more than 2 million small businesses in New York, which is 7.2 percent of the national total. A total of 3.9 million people, or 50.6 percent, of all New York employees are small business employees.
According to the National Small Businesses Association, 27 percent of small businesses say they cannot access adequate financing and are being pushed into using credit cards to meet capital needs but only 31 percent say those credit cards meet their capital needs. In comparison, in 1993 only 16 percent of small businesses used credit cards as a source of financing. The average interest rate charged on small business credit cards is 14.16 percent.
The Small Business Credit Card Act would:
- prevent credit card companies from arbitrarily raising interest rates on small businesses without proper notice;
- prohibit interest rate increases on existing balances;
- prohibit interest charges on debt paid on time; and
- require any payment over the minimum apply to the balance with the highest interest rate.
“One-in-three small-business owners look to credit cards as a critical source of financing, yet these cards typically are not protected against the most unfair and deceptive credit card practices,” National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken said recently of Lowey’s bill. “I applaud Congresswoman Lowey for her continued advocacy on this issue and look forward to working with her to ensure small businesses have access to fair, affordable financing.”
Thomas Morley, Director of the Rockland Regional New York State Small Business Development Center, spoke about the value of the legislation to local businesses. He said, “Many small businesses have come to rely on credit cards for purchasing supplies and inventory in their businesses. Sadly some financial institutions choose to have capricious policies harmful to small businesses. Congresswoman Lowey, long a champion for small business, has proposed regulations essential to the protection of the businesses that are the economic fabric of our communities. Small business must use credit to survive, Congresswoman Lowey's proposal will directly help their survival."
As the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Lowey successfully fought to secure a $2 million increase for Entrepreneurial Development Programs, like Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers, and a $1.5 billion increase in lending authority for 7(a) loans in the recently passed spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which funds the federal government through September.