Dayton Administration makes more loan money available to small banks

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol Editor
The Dayton Administration on Wednesday, Oct. 26 announced $100 million in additional funding will be made available to small banks to loan as a means of helping cash-strapped Minnesota small business.
The Small Business/Banking Partnership is administered through the Minnesota State Board of Investments and notching up the funding reflects a recommendation by a capital access task force created by the governor.
Only two other states, Illinois and Texas, have more small banks than Minnesota — Minnesota has around 300, said task force Chairman Tom Borman, of the Maslon Edelman Borman and Brand law firm.
The state board of investments has been making up to $750,000 per bank available in three and six month certificate of deposits.
Currently, about $50 to $100 million of this money is deposited in community banks for lending.
But under the administration’s proposal, the amount of money made available to qualified banks — those deemed at least “satisfactory” by the Minnesota Department of Commerce — will be doubled to $1.5 million.
“This will be starting shortly,” said Howard Bicker, Minnesota State Board of Investment executive director.
For the state these are safe investments, Bicker explained.
The State Board of Investment cannot force small banks to loan to small business, he said. But that is the natural clientele of community banks, Bicker explained.
Q and A
In taking questions, Gov. Mark Dayton indicated the small bank proposal was just one means of addressing the complicated. long-term problems in the economy.
“One person at a time; one family at a time,” he said of how the economy will turn around.
Access to capital was just one of the themes to emerge from a jobs’ summit the governor sponsored on Tuesday.
Other themes include ensuring border to border high-speed broadband, increasing state exports, better aligning higher education to job opportunities, closing the employment and learning gap, among other themes.
Commenting on the Vikings’ stadium initiative, Dayton said that he planned to tour the proposed Arden Hills’ stadium site by air to better acquaint himself with the area.
The governor indicated a proposed meeting with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders is scheduled for Friday morning to further discussed his proposed stadium special session.
While not endorsing the use of legacy funding for stadium purposes — an idea some lawmakers have floated — Dayton said all options should be considered.
Asked for a comment concerning the odds of redistricting ultimately being settled by the courts or the Legislature, Dayton placed them “somewhere between the Vikings winning their division and the Vikings winning the Super Bowl” that it would be the former.