President Obama, to his credit, discussed at length during his State of the Union address the importance of small businesses to the creation of jobs and the real growth of our sputtering economy. Shortly thereafter, the administration announced a $30 billion allocation of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to community banks for small-business lending.

The Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, motivated by the lack of details in this Tarp proposal and a desire to avoid repeating recent failures to coordinate policy with implementation, convened on March 1 senior leaders from eight financial institutions with unique knowledge of small-business lending in the eighth-largest economy in the world, California. They included representatives from very small, midsize and large community banks, as well as from two banks that are considered "too big to fail."

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