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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The number of SBA loans to Black-owned businesses has decreased 84% from its peak before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report from the Business Journals, citing lending data from the agency’s flagship 7(a) program. Overall 7(a) loans declined 53% during that time.

Why it matters: The precipitous decline in loans to Black-owned businesses, in particular, was despite 48% growth in the economy, a 101% increase in bank deposits and an 82% jump in commercial loans, the report notes.

Where it stands: "White neighborhoods receive roughly twice as much per person in small-business loans compared with Black neighborhoods," the data show.

  • "Likewise, majority-white neighborhoods, on average, receive roughly twice as many small-business loans per capita."

Details: The country’s four largest banks — Citi, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — which hold roughly 35% of the nation’s deposits, made 91% fewer 7(a) loans to Black-owned businesses in 2019 than in 2007.

How it works: Since banks are prohibited from collecting data on the race and ethnicity of borrowers, the reporters interviewed Black business owners in each of the company’s 44 markets and conducted a demographic analysis of small-business lending using census tracts.

The big picture: Experts say the data underscore the way bank and government policy have exacerbated racial disparities in wealth generation, homeownership rates, educational attainment and other measures of financial equality.

The last word: “I don’t think most Americans understand the severity of the problem,” Orv Kimbrough, CEO of Midwest BankCentre, said in the report.

Go deeper

Black residents in Tampa Bay face big COVID vaccine disparities

James Bryant, left, and his wife Eunice register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa earlier this month. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Tampa Bay's vaccination rate for Black residents is startlingly low.

By the numbers: Of the 54,725 people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Sarasota-Manatee, only 812 are Black.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."

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