the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President at Access to Capital and Tax Breaks Breakout Session in Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland State University

Cleveland, Ohio

12:36 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m not going to make any long remarks in the opening; just to say that since Tim and I moved to Washington, I think our biggest priorities have always been to make sure that we stabilized the capital markets and made sure that they’re working for businesses large and small.

I think Tim did extraordinary work in our first two years to make sure that the capital markets sort of regained some sense of normalcy.  But what we’re well aware of is that if you’re a big company, it’s very easy to borrow right now, and you can borrow very cheaply.  If you’re a medium-sized company, you may be doing okay.  If you’re a small business, capital is still tough -- partly, as I understand it, because one of the key ways that small businesses were able to get loans was because it had some sort of assets that they could offer up as collateral.  And if those asset values have declined, that makes it that much more difficult.  And small community banks that were the source of a lot of lending for small businesses are still working their way through some problems.  Many of them were involved in the real estate market one way or another, and that creates difficulties, as well.

So we know we still have some challenges.  I assume that Tim has already described to you what we’re doing both on the SBA side and at Treasury to try to loosen up capital for entrepreneurs and business people like yourselves.  But with that, we’re interested in finding out in more detail where you think we can be most helpful.

With that, Tim?


12:39 P.M. EST