The president of a Boston-based economic development firm guarantees that Utah banks will support legislation allowing the Utah Housing Finance Agency to raise money to help small business just the way the agency now raises money for housing.

Belden H. Daniels, of Counsel for Community Development Inc., cited a need to educate bankers on the value of supporting financing programs for small business. Daniels was hired to study what legislation is needed to expand the authority's scope.Daniels told the Utah Economic Development Board the study is about 50 percent complete, and next fall he will make some recommendations in time for the January general legislative session.

The first step in the study, Daniels said, is to look at the Utah economy and the demand for capital. "Utah is an interesting state in many ways," said Daniels, "because there is a tremendous economic capability."

Utah's economy depends on a small number of large companies (more than 1,000 employees) and a large number of small companies (with less than 100 employees), Daniels said. What is needed are more medium-size companies with between 100 and 900 employees.

David J. Grant, Utah Division of Business and Economic Development division, said when companies become middle-size many are purchased by larger companies.

Daniels likened the financing problem in Utah to an hourglass with trillions of investment dollars available in one end and small business in the other end. "We have to eliminate the bottleneck," he said, referring to the slim center of the hourglass.

The board voted to support Daniels' effort.