Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said policy makers should think “carefully” about how to support small businesses and entrepreneurs to boost job growth in the face of “difficult economic times.”
“Small businesses have played an important role in fueling past economic recoveries,” Bernanke said today in opening remarks at a Fed conference in Washington. “We need to think carefully about how, in the current economic environment, our nation can best provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need to expand job opportunities.”
Bernanke and his colleagues are struggling to lower unemployment stuck near 9 percent or higher for more than two years after cutting interest rates almost to zero and using unconventional stimulus tools. The central bank is trying to deepen its understanding of “frictions that impede the flow of credit to creditworthy borrowers” through research, he said.
The Fed chief didn’t elaborate on the outlook for the U.S. economy and monetary policy in the prepared remarks.
Bernanke reiterated that the Fed is encouraging its bank examiners to “adopt a balanced approach to reviewing banks’ lending to small businesses.” The Fed holds training sessions for examiners and reaches out to lenders as part of efforts to “foster an environment in which lenders do all they can to meet the needs of creditworthy borrowers while maintaining appropriately prudent underwriting standards.”
The Fed conference on small business and entrepreneurship runs through tomorrow.
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