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Inside the credit crunch

Loan application

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Kai Ryssdal: Coming soon to a theater near you., $1 billion worth of digital upgrades. Five big movie studios announced a deal with JPMorgan Chase and Blackstone, the private equity group, today. Gutsy move, wouldn't you say, asking for $1 billion in an exceedingly tight credit market. But that does kind of makes the point that there is money to be had out there, if you've got the wherewithal to pay substantial interest for it. For companies that aren't quite so big, though, the credit squeeze is very, very real.

From the Marketplace Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: David Richard's in a bind. He's looking for an unsecured credit line of just $25,000 to $50,000 for his web-design firm in Arlington, Virginia.

David Richard: My current bank essentially told us that, well given you some credit and we probably won't be able to give you any more. So, she was essentially telling me to go to her competitors.

Which hasn't worked either. The second big bank didn't even call back. Now he's trying a smaller bank. Richard's got plenty of clients, but he needs that line of credit to keep the business running while he waits for them to pay their bills.

Richard: We have to pay our employees every month, and invoices usually have a 45- to 60-day cycle, so during that time we have to fill in the blanks.

Up in Boston, Jennifer McKinley's having similar problems. Her company, called Cor, sells high-end skin care products to salons and retailers. But she can't get the money she needs to expand.

Jennifer McKinley: Sales are up 55 percent from last year. I'm adding new distribution every week. It's profitable. My personal credit score is excellent. There's not a single bank out there that's willing to give me even a teeny, tiny line of credit.

Hartman: And do you have any employees at the moment?

McKinley: I don't. I'm absolutely at the stage of the business where, were I able to get just a small line of credit, I would be hiring.

McKinley says she can hang on, doing all the work herself, for a little while. But she may have to take the business back to her native New Zealand if cash doesn't start flowing in the U.S. economy soon.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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