Difficulty securing credit on Main St.

September 30, 2008 7:57:13 PM PDT
It is business as usual at Medjool restaurant in San Francisco, where workers are getting ready for the dinner crowd.

But with the rest of the country in the middle of a credit crisis, there is anxiety.

"Every small business at one time or another either at the beginning, or at the middle or at the end, when they want to expand, they rely on loans," owner Gus Murad said.

Murad was hoping a loan would allow him to open a similar restaurant on the Peninsula, but the bank said, "no way."

"Today, you go and offer them 50 percent down and they look at you and raise their hands and say, 'I don't want to touch you,'" Murad said.

That difficulty in getting a loan is exactly what the Bush administration and leaders of Congress are trying to prevent, because lending is essential to keeping the economy moving.

It is something Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been saying time and again.

"Markets around the world are under stress and that reduces the availability of credit that businesses across America depend on to meet payroll and to purchase inventories," Paulson said Monday.

The hope is that by infusing $700 billion into Wall Street, banks will begin lending again; and, in theory, things like car loans and equity lines of credit will become easier to get.

Michael Freethy had a $365,000 equity line until recently, when the bank closed it.

"I made about 200 phones calls and never got a good answer and finally they said, 'you know what, we're sorry but your value has gone down,' I kind of tried to prove that it didn't but they didn't care," Freethy said.

It is a scenario that will likely play out again and again as the credit crisis continues.

Related Link:
THE BACK STORY: The shock of losing credit


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