Scientific Opinion Poll: Colorado Small Business Owners Strongly Oppose Raising Interest Rates on Consumer Loans

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New polling shows Colorado small businesses oppose efforts to increase interest rates on consumer loans; results suggest legislators who support these efforts would pay the price at the polls 

DENVER–A scientific opinion poll released today shows Colorado small business owners deeply oppose allowing lenders to increase the interest they can charge on a consumer loan, and the majority say they would be less likely to vote for a state representative who voted to increase the maximum interest rate lenders in Colorado can charge.

The poll, conducted from April 20-28 by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority, found an overwhelming 90 percent of Colorado small business owners oppose proposed state legislation that would allow lenders to increase the interest they can charge on a $3,000 consumer loan from 28 percent a year to 30 percent a year and allow increases based on inflation for each subsequent year. More than three-fourths (76 percent) strongly oppose it. According to the poll, 62 percent of the small business respondents say they believe small business owners would consider taking a consumer loan of $1,000 to $10,000, the loan size typically offered by such lenders.

The poll also sheds new light on legislation being considered by the state Legislature that would allow lenders to raise rates on consumer loans, despite Gov. John Hickenlooper’s veto of similar legislation last year. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of small business owners would be less likely to vote for a state representative who voted to increase the maximum interest rates lenders in Colorado can charge, and 89 percent say they oppose this legislation – even after hearing arguments in favor of it.

“Inability to access affordable loans can be a real barrier to success for small businesses,” said Tim Gaudette, Colorado Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority. “They need loans with reasonable interest rates to get off the ground and grow. If we raise interest rates in Colorado, we’ll be threatening the ability of our small businesses to create jobs and compete with businesses in other states.” 

Small business owners are also concerned about the overall impact of higher interest rates on Colorado’s economy and their employees. The poll shows 74 percent of small business owners agree that higher rates mean less profit, difficulty creating new jobs and less money for small business owners or their employees to spend at other small businesses. Similarly, 83 percent of small business owners agree that moderate and low-income people employed by small businesses could seek a loan from these types of lenders and that raising interest rates will increase the financial strain on those that can least afford it.

“As a small business owner, it’s important to me that my community has money to spend locally to support small businesses,” said Tonie Jones, owner of the Brow Snob, a brow studio in Denver. “Affordable loans play an important role in that, and I know firsthand how high interest rates can make loans unaffordable for consumers. Higher interest rates will move money out of the pockets of my customers and employees and give it to profitable lenders, and that doesn’t make sense for Colorado’s economy.”

This poll reflects a combined Internet and telephone survey of 400 Colorado small business owners. It has a margin of error of +/- 5 %.

The full report can be found here. Small business owners can also add their names to a pledge opposing higher interest rates here:

About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to focus on solving the biggest problems facing small businesses today. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong economy. We regularly engage our network of 45,000 small business owners and more than 2,000 business organizations, along with a formal strategic partnership program of more than 125 business organizations, enabling us to reach more than 500,000 entrepreneurs. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers, including access to capital, taxes, healthcare, retirement, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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