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美国为什么对小微企业见死不救?

美国为什么对小微企业见死不救?

Orv Kimbrough 2020年10月12日
黑人所有者小企业在新冠疫情期间受到的冲击尤为严重,因此需要大量的贷款和救助。

图片来源:COURTESY OF KELLY LEE, MULBERRY TREE DESIGN STUDIO

我成长于圣路易斯北部地区,在这一期间,我的母亲一直含辛茹苦,为我们这个五人家庭的日常所需而操劳,有时候她还得去Lee’s Pawn Shop,通过借贷来购买家里为数不多的一点资产,例如家里的自行车。利息是相当高的,但与我们在那里遇到的周边地区的众多母亲一样,我的母亲缺乏获取贷款的渠道,而且也没有条件进行对比。

这是我对信贷的最初印象。可能在当时我已经习以为常,当我需要一辆交通工具往返于密苏里-哥伦比亚大学与工作地点之间时,我毫不犹豫地接受了经销商提供的利息超过25%的贷款,并用其购买了一台别克Le Sabre。直到我遇到我妻子这位注册会计师之后,经她提点,我才意识到我所在城区之外的人无需为贷款支付那么高的利息。

我最近也在思考上述经历,同时也在关注美国国会有关第二个全国性刺激方案难产的问题。这些决策者们难以在诸多细节方面达成一致意见,但却在一个关键点上达成了共识:由于无法妥协,联邦政府无法在美国小微企业最需要帮助的时候满足其需求。

作为中西部银行中心(Midwest Bank Centre)这家有着115年历史的圣路易斯地方银行的董事长兼首席执行官,我每天都能够感受到该问题导致的不良后果,而且我亦是全美极少数黑人银行首席执行官之一。很多地方性小企业,例如夫妻百货店、鞋店,甚至是我的理发师,都处于举步维艰的状态或已经破产倒闭,也让当地市中心和商界出现了巨大的空洞。同时,由于《冠状病毒援助、救济和经济安全法案》(Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)对手续门槛要求很高,众多小企业无法利用其获取所需的贷款。

每当我在社区看见另一个“倒闭告示”时,我都不禁要想:为什么这个状况没有任何改观?为什么心安理得地听任美国小微企业倒闭?

我认为,这是因为大多数人并不知道这些企业在经济中所代表的多元化业态及其对经济的重要性。很多人惊奇地发现,商业街的小企业竟然代表了99.9%的商业业态,而且聘用了47%的从业人员。这些雇员中有超过半数都是“小微企业”,其雇员数量不超过4名。

其中大多数企业都是“非雇主型”公司,也就是聘用的是未填写W-2报税表的员工。美国人口统计局(Census Bureau)发现,2018年这类员工的数量达到了2650万。12家联邦储备银行在全国开展的中小企业信贷调查显示,在有潜力成为雇主的非雇主型企业中,青年企业家以及种族和少数族裔群体占到了大多数。

很多这类企业在运营时都得不到传统银行系统的帮助,其成长类似于我家庭的遭遇。它们在一开始还没有通过组建一个业务实体以及开设商业银行账户来构建其商业信誉。它们在成立之初没有渠道获取众多大型企业可以用于缓冲低成本贷款。如果它们出现了现金断流的情况,它们就必须向利息远高于银行的其他借贷方寻求帮助。当受到新冠疫情这类危机的冲击时,其中的众多企业必然会出现经营困难的情况,最终关门大吉。

黑人所有者企业受这类挑战的冲击尤为明显。今年2至4月,美国有44万家黑人所有者企业破产。全美经济研究局(National Bureau of Economic Research)称,这个数字占到了110万黑人企业总数的41%。作为对比,在这一期间破产的白人所有者企业占到了其总数的17%。

很多企业可谓是借贷无门。美联储发现,黑人所有者企业银行贷款获批的可能性更低,有53.4%的申请遭到了拒绝,而白人所有者的遭拒率为24.7%。另一项调查显示,在获得风投支持的企业创始人中,仅有1%为黑人。

这些企业的消失将对众多社区造成深远影响。对很多人来说,拥有一家成功的企业,哪怕是成为一名个体户,都是谋生、积累世代财富以及体验其积极影响(例如高品质教育、固定的住所、低犯罪率以及健康的改善)的绝佳选择。对于那些在普通工作中无法获得公平薪酬的少数族裔群体来说,自己当老板是一个很有吸引力的选择。

企业破产之后,受伤的不仅仅是企业主,同时也会导致工作岗位的丢失,继而引发犯罪率上升。今年年初美国圣路易斯以及其他地区爆发的民众骚乱不仅仅反映了执法人员对美国黑人的态度,同时也凸显了黑人每天遭遇的经济不公平待遇。

那么面对这一情况我们该怎么办?如果我们想给这些社区带来希望,那么我们需要做的就不仅仅是改革警局那么简单,而是要在当前美国小微企业最需要帮助的时候为它们提供支持。出台一个真正有效的援助方案至关重要,而且此举将产生强大的涟漪效应。

同时,我们还必须应对会对这个多元化商业群体带来负面效应的系统性撤资现象。我们应该制定一个统一的策略,帮助其中更多的企业突破百万美元营收大关,很多美国小微企业将因此而受益。此举意味着在一开始将更多的小微企业纳入银行系统,并帮助它们建立信誉。

我们还需要重新审视很多政府和大型公司运行的供应商多元化方案。其中的大多数方案的宗旨并非是与那些极度缺乏资本、支持以及指导的企业家合作,而且这些方案也不知道如何帮助这些企业打造产能和可持续发展能力。反而,这些项目的主要目标是把该花的“预算”花出去。我们需要对其宗旨进行调整,以提供有意义的帮助。

当前,我们在支持黑人小微企业、帮助其成长方面面临着一个难得的机遇,而且对众多被剥夺权利的企业家来说,此举将为他们赋能。只有通过接纳这些企业,我们才能够打造每位美国民众都应该享有的可持续繁荣。

欧弗·金布罗是中西部银行中心的董事长兼首席执行官,也是国际青年总裁协会成员。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

我成长于圣路易斯北部地区,在这一期间,我的母亲一直含辛茹苦,为我们这个五人家庭的日常所需而操劳,有时候她还得去Lee’s Pawn Shop,通过借贷来购买家里为数不多的一点资产,例如家里的自行车。利息是相当高的,但与我们在那里遇到的周边地区的众多母亲一样,我的母亲缺乏获取贷款的渠道,而且也没有条件进行对比。

这是我对信贷的最初印象。可能在当时我已经习以为常,当我需要一辆交通工具往返于密苏里-哥伦比亚大学与工作地点之间时,我毫不犹豫地接受了经销商提供的利息超过25%的贷款,并用其购买了一台别克Le Sabre。直到我遇到我妻子这位注册会计师之后,经她提点,我才意识到我所在城区之外的人无需为贷款支付那么高的利息。

我最近也在思考上述经历,同时也在关注美国国会有关第二个全国性刺激方案难产的问题。这些决策者们难以在诸多细节方面达成一致意见,但却在一个关键点上达成了共识:由于无法妥协,联邦政府无法在美国小微企业最需要帮助的时候满足其需求。

作为中西部银行中心(Midwest Bank Centre)这家有着115年历史的圣路易斯地方银行的董事长兼首席执行官,我每天都能够感受到该问题导致的不良后果,而且我亦是全美极少数黑人银行首席执行官之一。很多地方性小企业,例如夫妻百货店、鞋店,甚至是我的理发师,都处于举步维艰的状态或已经破产倒闭,也让当地市中心和商界出现了巨大的空洞。同时,由于《冠状病毒援助、救济和经济安全法案》(Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)对手续门槛要求很高,众多小企业无法利用其获取所需的贷款。

每当我在社区看见另一个“倒闭告示”时,我都不禁要想:为什么这个状况没有任何改观?为什么心安理得地听任美国小微企业倒闭?

我认为,这是因为大多数人并不知道这些企业在经济中所代表的多元化业态及其对经济的重要性。很多人惊奇地发现,商业街的小企业竟然代表了99.9%的商业业态,而且聘用了47%的从业人员。这些雇员中有超过半数都是“小微企业”,其雇员数量不超过4名。

其中大多数企业都是“非雇主型”公司,也就是聘用的是未填写W-2报税表的员工。美国人口统计局(Census Bureau)发现,2018年这类员工的数量达到了2650万。12家联邦储备银行在全国开展的中小企业信贷调查显示,在有潜力成为雇主的非雇主型企业中,青年企业家以及种族和少数族裔群体占到了大多数。

很多这类企业在运营时都得不到传统银行系统的帮助,其成长类似于我家庭的遭遇。它们在一开始还没有通过组建一个业务实体以及开设商业银行账户来构建其商业信誉。它们在成立之初没有渠道获取众多大型企业可以用于缓冲低成本贷款。如果它们出现了现金断流的情况,它们就必须向利息远高于银行的其他借贷方寻求帮助。当受到新冠疫情这类危机的冲击时,其中的众多企业必然会出现经营困难的情况,最终关门大吉。

黑人所有者企业受这类挑战的冲击尤为明显。今年2至4月,美国有44万家黑人所有者企业破产。全美经济研究局(National Bureau of Economic Research)称,这个数字占到了110万黑人企业总数的41%。作为对比,在这一期间破产的白人所有者企业占到了其总数的17%。

很多企业可谓是借贷无门。美联储发现,黑人所有者企业银行贷款获批的可能性更低,有53.4%的申请遭到了拒绝,而白人所有者的遭拒率为24.7%。另一项调查显示,在获得风投支持的企业创始人中,仅有1%为黑人。

这些企业的消失将对众多社区造成深远影响。对很多人来说,拥有一家成功的企业,哪怕是成为一名个体户,都是谋生、积累世代财富以及体验其积极影响(例如高品质教育、固定的住所、低犯罪率以及健康的改善)的绝佳选择。对于那些在普通工作中无法获得公平薪酬的少数族裔群体来说,自己当老板是一个很有吸引力的选择。

企业破产之后,受伤的不仅仅是企业主,同时也会导致工作岗位的丢失,继而引发犯罪率上升。今年年初美国圣路易斯以及其他地区爆发的民众骚乱不仅仅反映了执法人员对美国黑人的态度,同时也凸显了黑人每天遭遇的经济不公平待遇。

那么面对这一情况我们该怎么办?如果我们想给这些社区带来希望,那么我们需要做的就不仅仅是改革警局那么简单,而是要在当前美国小微企业最需要帮助的时候为它们提供支持。出台一个真正有效的援助方案至关重要,而且此举将产生强大的涟漪效应。

同时,我们还必须应对会对这个多元化商业群体带来负面效应的系统性撤资现象。我们应该制定一个统一的策略,帮助其中更多的企业突破百万美元营收大关,很多美国小微企业将因此而受益。此举意味着在一开始将更多的小微企业纳入银行系统,并帮助它们建立信誉。

我们还需要重新审视很多政府和大型公司运行的供应商多元化方案。其中的大多数方案的宗旨并非是与那些极度缺乏资本、支持以及指导的企业家合作,而且这些方案也不知道如何帮助这些企业打造产能和可持续发展能力。反而,这些项目的主要目标是把该花的“预算”花出去。我们需要对其宗旨进行调整,以提供有意义的帮助。

当前,我们在支持黑人小微企业、帮助其成长方面面临着一个难得的机遇,而且对众多被剥夺权利的企业家来说,此举将为他们赋能。只有通过接纳这些企业,我们才能够打造每位美国民众都应该享有的可持续繁荣。

欧弗·金布罗是中西部银行中心的董事长兼首席执行官,也是国际青年总裁协会成员。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

When I was growing up in North St. Louis, my mother, struggling to buy groceries for our family of five, would sometimes make trips to Lee’s Pawn Shop to borrow against the few assets we had, like our family’s bicycle. The interest rates were high, but like many of the neighborhood moms we ran into there, she lacked access to credit and didn’t have the option to shop around.

That was my first experience with credit. Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I needed a way to get to and from my classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia and work, I gladly took out the loan the dealership offered at more than 25% interest so I could buy my Buick Le Sabre. I didn’t realize that people outside of our urban community weren’t paying interest rates that high until I met my wife, a CPA, who pointed it out.

I’ve thought of these experiences lately, as I’ve followed news about Congress’s inability to find a compromise on a second national stimulus package. The lawmakers disagree on many details, but there’s no debate about one key point: By not finding a compromise, the federal government isn’t meeting the needs of America’s smallest businesses at a time they need help the most.

I see the fallout every day as chairman and CEO of Midwest Bank Centre, a 115-year-old community bank in St. Louis, where I am one of only a handful of Black bank CEOs in the country. Many local small businesses—the mom-and-pop grocer, the shoe store, even my barber—have struggled or gone under, leaving gaping holes in the fabric of our local downtown and business community. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, with its steep paperwork requirements, closed many of them out from getting the loans needed.

Every time I see another “going out of business sign” in our community, I have to wonder: Why is this still going on? Why is it acceptable to let America’s smallest businesses die?

I think it is because most people don’t know how diverse and important this group of businesses is to our economy and local communities. Many people are surprised to find out that small businesses on Main Street represent 99.9% of all businesses, and employ 47% of all workers. More than half of those with employees are tiny “microbusinesses” with four employees or fewer.

And most are “nonemployer” firms—those with no W-2 employees. There were 26.5 million of them in 2018, the Census Bureau found. Young entrepreneurs and racial and ethnic minorities are overrepresented among nonemployer firms that have the potential to become employers, according to the Small Business Credit Survey, which is produced by the 12 Federal Reserve banks across the country.

Many of these businesses operate outside of the traditional banking system, the way my family did growing up. They haven’t started building business credit by forming a business entity and setting up a business bank account. They don’t have access to the low-cost loans that cushion many larger businesses when life happens. If they experience a cash crunch, they must turn to alternative lenders, who charge a lot more than a bank would. When a crisis like the coronavirus hits, it’s no wonder that many of them struggle and eventually shut their doors.

The impact of challenges like these is especially pronounced among Black-owned businesses. Between February and April of this year, 440,000 Black-owned businesses in the U.S. closed. They made up 41% of the total of 1.1 million, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In comparison, 17% of white-owned businesses closed in the same time frame.

Many had nowhere to turn for help. Black-owned businesses are less likely to be approved for bank loans, with 53.4% of those who apply turned down, compared to 24.7% of white-owned firms, the Federal Reserve found. Only 1% of venture-backed founders are Black, according to another study.

The loss of these businesses will have a profound effect on many communities. Owning a successful business—even a one-person operation—is a great way for many people to make a living, build generational wealth, and experience positive byproducts such as quality education, stable housing, reduced crime, and improved health. For people in minority groups that have not had access to equal pay in a traditional job, business ownership is an appealing alternative.

When businesses close, it doesn’t only hurt the owners. It also leads to a loss of jobs, which causes crime rates to rise. The civil unrest that broke out in St. Louis and other cities across America earlier this year reflected not only how Black Americans are treated by law enforcement but also the lack of economic equity they experience every day.

So where do we go from here? If we want to inject hope into these communities, we need to do more than reform police departments. We need to support America’s smallest businesses right now, at a time they need help the most. Passing an aid package that truly helps them is essential and will have a powerful ripple effect.

But we also have to address systemic disinvestment that holds back this diverse group of businesses. Many of America’s smallest businesses would benefit from a concerted strategy to grow more of them to $1 million in revenue and beyond. That starts with bringing more of them into the banking system and helping them build credit.

We also need to take a fresh look at the supplier diversity programs that many governments and larger companies run. Most aren’t designed to work with entrepreneurs who’ve been starved of capital, support, and mentorship and don’t know how to help these entrepreneurs build capacity and sustainability. Instead, the programs mainly aim to hit a target “spend.” We need to change their focus to providing meaningful help.

We have an incredible opportunity right now to support America’s smallest businesses and help them grow—and, in doing so, to empower many disenfranchised entrepreneurs. Only by embracing these businesses will we be able to build the kind of sustainable prosperity that every American deserves.

Orv Kimbrough is chairman and CEO of Midwest Bank Centre and a YPO member.

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