May 222014

“We face a global capital crisis,” states Julia Hanna, the chair of crowdfunding platform Kiva.

In a story written with Kiva board member and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Hanna discusses how crowdfunding platforms are replacing banks as the source for businesses around the world.

Throughout world  banks have effectively stepped out of the small business market, despite the world being flooded with cash to keep the global economy afloat over the last five years. Hanna writes about the US experience;

big banks currently reject more than 8 out of 10 loan applicants, and small banks reject 5 out of 10. Some estimates suggest that investment in small businesses has dropped as much as 44 percent since the Great Recession in 2008.

While the Great Recession had a lot to do with the collapse in small business lending in the US and Europe, the decline in bank support for main street dates back to the first Basel Accords established in 1988.

Basel judged banks’ risks on the classification on their assets – government bonds were the safest and domestic property was the preferred private sector asset with small business lending being a long way down the risk.

Following the cues from regulators, banks favoured mortgages which they could them securitize and onsell to investors; this gave rise to the sub-prime lending markets, Collateral Debt Obligations and eventually the Great Recession itself.

Six years after the great recession started and despite massive amounts of capital being injected into the banking system, the small business sector is still being capital starved.

As Hanna and Hoffmann state in their article, crowdfunding sites like Kiva and community initiatives are changing the banking system and it could well be that today’s trading banks.

Having neglected their core purpose of funding business and industry, are now as vulnerable to disruption as other industries as small businesses, entrepreneurs and communities look elsewhere for their capital needs.

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