One of Woodstock’s main policy objectives this year has been SB2234, the Small Business Financing Transparency Act. This bill would protect Illinois small businesses by establishing clear and transparent standards in the small business financing space, including the disclosure of a loan’s financing cost, or the Annual Percent Rate (APR). “Nonbank” online lenders are currently not required to disclose rates that can reach 300% APR. This creates a confusing and predatory environment for those trying to start a business.

Woodstock’s Senior Regulatory Policy Associate Jane Doyle stood firm against intense questioning from lawmakers while testifying in favor of the bill in this month’s Illinois Senate Financial Institutions hearing. When pressed to address opposition talking points, Jane explained beat-by-beat how proponents had compromised with the opposition on key issues.  

Additionally, in response to disingenuous claims that no small business groups supported the bill, Jane pointed out numerous such supporters including the Small Business Advocacy Council, Small Business Majority, chambers of commerce, and more.

Ultimately, despite our opponents having more money, lawyers, and lobbyists, Jane’s testimony, built on the messaging and coalition work undertaken by Woodstock and our partners, laid bare the opposition’s real issue: Certain actors in the small business financing space simply want to continue charging predatory rates on their loans.  

After a heated hearing, SB 2234 passed through the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on a 5-2 vote. The Bill now advances to the Senate floor for a vote from the full chamber.