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Biden in Ohio: Banks will expand business lending

By Thomas J. Sheeran

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 20 2011 12:47 p.m. MDT

SOLON, Ohio — Vice President Joe Biden used an expanding small business in northeast Ohio on Tuesday to highlight a commitment by 13 big banks to increase lending for small businesses by a combined $20 billion over the next three years.

The commitment will boost small business lending that shrank from $700 billion in 2008 before the recession to $600 billion, Biden said.

Biden toured the Wrap-Tite packaging supply company in suburban Cleveland and spoke to a factory-floor crowd of small business owners and bankers.

The company used a $1.5 million Small Business Administration loan to buy a new production facility five times bigger than its two old locations. The company also expanded in the past year from 17 employees to 22.

The five new positions are important, Biden said, in the context of millions small businesses, which represent most of the new jobs created in the nation.

Those hometown jobs translate into more spending and help other businesses, Biden said. "This means those stores stay in business," he said.

According to Biden, President Barack Obama's economic proposals are geared to helping small businesses and middle class wage-earners. "This is about putting money in the hands of middle-class people," Biden said.

Before speaking, Biden toured the facility, inspecting bubble-wrapped mailers and equipment used to cut wrapping materials to size.

The Republican National Committee said the Biden visit highlighted shortcomings in an economic stimulus program that it said had left Ohio losing jobs and its economy sputtering.

"After failing to create a single job last month, Vice President Biden's campaign visit to Ohio shows that the White House is concerned about one job and one job only, President Obama's. In his plea for a second stimulus to save the economy, Biden forgot to mention the tangible failures of the Obama administration's last stimulus," RNC spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said in an email.

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