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Credit Availability for Minority Business Owners in an Evolving Credit Environment: Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic


We apply data from the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey from 2016 to 2020 to estimate disparities in access to small business financing through loan denials and discouragement. We find that substantial credit disparities continue to exist despite the growth of fintech lenders, which prior research shows have expanded the set of small businesses receiving credit. Because the pandemic period brought many direct changes to the business and lending environment, we separately analyze the change to lending in 2020. PPP loans represented an unprecedented support for small businesses, support that was not dependent on the creditworthiness of businesses, but minority-owned businesses are estimated to have received a smaller fraction of the funds they applied for from the program.

Keywords: small business lending, minority credit access, fintech
JEL codes: G21; L5; R3.


Suggested citation: Barkley, Brett R., and Mark E. Schweitzer. 2022. "Credit Availability for Minority Business Owners in an Evolving Credit Environment: Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Working Paper No. 22-18. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-202218.

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