• Description

This study provides a detailed review of small business lending in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and illustrates how this new data set can be utilized to assess small business lending in virtually any local market. Milwaukee is a fairly typical industrial community that has been hit hard by decades of disinvestment but which also has been the location of many successful community reinvestment initiatives in recent years (Squires and O'Connor 2001). Previous research found that among the nation's fifty largest metropolitan areas Milwaukee had the smallest share of small business loans going to low- and moderate-income areas (Norman 1998). Lending to small businesses, that is firms with assets below $1 million, was also found to be below nationwide levels. Small business lending has also been concentrated in white communities with black and Hispanic communities receiving relatively small shares of such loans and loan dollars. But lenders vary dramatically in Milwaukee in terms of the distribution of their small business loans by neighborhood income level (Squires and O'Connor 1999). This study examines changes in small business lending patterns in Milwaukee between 1996, when these data first became available, and 1999, the most recent data that are available.