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FDIC Announces Hotline for Small Businesses Regarding Availability of Credit

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) held a forum on small lending to explore ways in which credit can be made more accessible to the small business sector. Small businesses are critical to fueling the nation's economic growth, and their ability to generate new jobs depends, in large part, on access to credit. As a result of the forum and in recognition of importance of available credit to small businesses, the FDIC announced the formation of a new dedicated, toll-free hotline for small businesses. The new hotline allows small business owners to make inquiries with FDIC officials or to register concerns about the availability of credit. The FDIC will respond to inquiries about policies and financial institutions it regulates as well as make referrals to other governmental agencies where appropriate.

"A combination of factors have created issues and challenges for small businesses, but it is turning in terms of credit availability. I think it is going to get better, and we're working to facilitate that with the dialogue this conference will spark along with our new hotline and Web site dedicated to small businesses," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair.

The small business hotline is operational Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. As part of the kickoff of the hotline, it will be open this weekend only, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. The toll-free number is (855) FDIC-BIZ (1-855-334-2249). To complement the new small business hotline, the FDIC also created a dedicated Web site for small businesses to utilize: www.fdic.gov/smallbusiness.

The forum, "Overcoming Obstacles to Small Business Lending," brought together key government officials including FDIC Chairman Bair; Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Mark R. Warner, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia; and Thomas D. Bell Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, visit www.fdic.gov.

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