Wells Fargo site helping Small Business Lending lacks punch

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Leave it to Wells Fargo, so far one of the only large 800 pound Too Big To Fail banks that has been generally unscathed by Libor scandals, legal battles with the US government,  capital accounting errors, etc. to set a goal to lend to small business.  Wells announced a goal to extend $100 billion in new lending to small businesses by 2018.

Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo’s head of Small Business commented, “Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo. We know America needs small businesses to grow, add jobs and prosper for our economy to fully thrive.  Through Wells Fargo Works for Small Business and our new lending goal, we want to provide the support small businesses across the country need to move forward.”

How will they do this?

Wells Fargo certainly has leveraged the Government balance sheet to make small business loans, using the Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees to be the No. 1 SBA lender in dollars for each of last five years and the first lender to approve more than $1 billion in SBA 7(a) loans in a single year

But Wells current solution appears to be centered on tech, and mostly education.  They developed an online site for small business, WellsFargoWorks.com,  What I found on the site was mainly articles on topics such as building credit and sustaining growth to help business owners increase their knowledge and confidence  Wells Fargo will also make an effort to work with minority, women and other  national and community organizations.

Compare this effort to some of the alternative lending sites that have cropped up recently.

First, in the U.K. we have Alternative Business Funding network.  Compared to Wells, this site tries to connect alternative lenders with small business (note for UK businesses only).  The site is very user friendly and focuses on assessing your chance of getting finance and routing you to the most appropriate funder.

Stateside, we have Biz2Credit, which helps small businesses grow and funded over $1 billion in loans to more than 11,000 businesses.  They do this by enabling businesses to access over 1,200 different lenders through one single loan application.

Certainly education is a great place to start, but in this day of just in time, internet, all things connected, helping small business find sources of funding seems to be a real solution.

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