CFPB seeking information on financing needs of small businesses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently launched an inquiry into ways to gather and use information to identify the financing needs of small businesses, especially those owned by women and minorities.

Public information on this lending market is inconsistent and incomplete, so CFPB is seeking public feedback to help it better understand how to bridge this information gap.

“Small businesses fuel America‚Äôs economic engine, create jobs, and nurture communities. Yet little is known about how well the lending market serves their financing needs,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “This inquiry will help us learn how we can best fulfill our duty to collect and report information on small business lending.”

The CFPB is requesting comments from individual businesses, consumer groups, community development organizations, bank and nonbank lenders, regulators, and all other interested parties. The comment period for the public inquiry will end 60 days after the Request for Information is officially published in the Federal Register. The Request for Information can be found on the Consumer Finance website.

The bureau estimates that small businesses access about $1.4 trillion in financing. Current information on how small businesses engage with credit markets is incomplete or dated and does not paint a full picture of access to financing, particularly for small business owned by women and minorities.

This request for information is the first step toward crafting a rule for the collection and reporting of this lending data. The CFPB is looking for information on what defines a small business, what types of business lending information are used by financial institutions, and what is the privacy impact of the public release of small business lending data.