Letters to the Editor

Serving minorities

In response to Alan Fisher's statement (story Nov. 17) that "several nationwide banks posted a record of making no loans to African-American or Latino-owned businesses," our data indicates that banks using Small Business Administration tools are serving these groups in Fresno and nationwide in ever-increasing numbers.

In fiscal year 2006, our lending partners in the Fresno district made more than 245 loans with a value of $49.3 million to Hispanics and another 19 loans worth $2.6 million to African-Americans. SBA-guaranteed loans to minorities in the Fresno area accounted for 42% of our total lending the past year. Within our 15-county area, we've teamed up with lending partners to extend credit to minority small business owners at record levels.

We'll continue to work with all banks in the area to make more loans to all small businesses, including minority-owned firms, and we'd be happy to work with Mr. Fisher's organization, too. On Nov. 29 at the same conference center where Mr. Fisher recently spoke, SBA and several partners will put on a free business workshop -- one scheduled months ago. For additional information, visit www.smallbusinessempowerment.com.

Carlos G. Mendoza

District Director

Fresno SBA District Office