The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is supporting a much-needed boost for small businesses by urging lawmakers to authorize additional funding for the popular MOBUCK$ program.
The House Financial Institutions Committee heard testimony this week on HB 1803, sponsored by Rep. Terry Thompson (R-Lexington), who serves as vice-chairman of the committee. It is a top priority of Missouri State Treasurer Vivek Malek.
The treasurer’s office works with qualified lenders throughout the state to offer loans at lower interest rates to Missouri small businesses, farmers and local governments. The need for the additional $400 million appropriation sought in the bill is evident.
Malek testified MOBUCK$ applications were closed in May 2023 due to high demand. A record of nearly $539 million was loaned during that program year, pushing the amount of outstanding loans near the $800 million cap. When applications reopened on January 2 of this year, $120 million was allocated within six hours.
“The demand is huge and it is real,” Malek testified. “In times of inflation and high interest rates, MOBUCK$ definitely provides a relief valve.”
Thompson, a banker for 40 years, noted the program has been successful since its introduction in the 1980s. He participated in it multiple times, with the lower interest rates allowing the bank’s clients to invest in the growth and development, including job creation, of their businesses.
“I talked with a lot of small business owners and farmers and their biggest concern is interest rates on their cash flow,” Thompson said. “There is no risk to the state on this and it’s a statewide program with 136 banks participating.”
Similar legislation passed the Financial Institutions committee unanimously in 2023. It advanced through the House with strong support but died in the Senate.
Heidi Geisbuhler Sutherland, director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber, thanked Rep. Thompson and Treasurer Malek for “being champions of a program which is really a godsend for a lot of small businesses around the state. It’s a great economic development driver and a really wonderful opportunity for small businesses to grow and improve.”
For more information, contact Geisbuhler Sutherland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-634-3511.