Elizabeth Romero: March 2, 2017

Hispanic Small Business Owners Expect 2017 to be Banner Year, Bank of America Survey Reveals

Significantly More Optimistic about Growth Prospects, Hispanic Entrepreneurs
Lean on Strong Support Systems of Family, Friends and Community 

Elizabeth Romero

Division Executive, Small Business
Bank of America



Hispanic small business owners (SBOs) are significantly more optimistic about their growth prospects in 2017 than their non-Hispanic counterparts. Greater numbers of Hispanic small business owners plan to hire and expect revenue growth in the year ahead, according to the inaugural Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight. The Spotlight, which explored the views, opportunities and challenges of what is one of the fastest-growing segments of the small business sector, also found that Hispanic entrepreneurs have varying views on their greatest business challenges and whether a lending disparity exists. They are, however, in great alignment about the incredible role that family, friends and community play in the continuing success of their business.

Topics that Bank of America Executive Elizabeth Romero is available to discuss include:

·         Hispanic SBOs’ growth, revenue and hiring expectations for 2017

·         Sources of business financing and views on lending disparities of Hispanic SBOs

·         Economic concerns and business challenges facing Hispanic SBOs

·         Hispanic SBOs’ strong ties to family, friends and community

Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight Key Findings:

·         Hispanic entrepreneurs are more optimistic about their revenue, hiring plans and growth than non-Hispanic SBOs

o    71% of Hispanic entrepreneurs expect revenue to increase in 2017, compared with only 51% of non-Hispanic SBOs

o    54% of Hispanic SBOs plan to hire more employees in 2017 – 30 percentage points higher than non-Hispanic SBOs (only 24%)

o    76% of Hispanic entrepreneurs expect to grow their business over the next five years, compared with 55% of non-Hispanic SBOs

·         Hispanic SBOs are more likely to have applied for a bank loan than their non-Hispanic counterparts and are just as likely to have been approved – but are split on whether a lending gap exists

o    68% of Hispanic entrepreneurs have applied for a bank loan at some point during the lifetime of their business, compared with 48% of non-Hispanic SBOs

o    Among those who applied for a loan, 86% of Hispanic SBOs say they were approved – comparable to the approval rate reported by non-Hispanic entrepreneurs

o    Despite high approval rates and optimistic future plans, Hispanic entrepreneurs are evenly split on whether there is a lending gap — 51% believe a lending disparity exists between Hispanic and non-Hispanic SBOs, while slightly fewer (49%) say the disparity does not exist

·         Hispanic SBOs have varying opinions on the biggest challenges they face; more are concerned about fundamental economic issues than non-Hispanic SBOs

o    When asked about their greatest business challenge, 23% of Hispanic SBOs cite maintaining a work-life balance, 19% say finding qualified job candidates, 17% say access to capital and 17% cite understanding regulations and policies

o    While healthcare is the top economic concern of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic SBOs (71% and 75% respectively), Hispanic SBOs are significantly more concerned about several other economic factors, including the strength of the U.S. dollar (62% of Hispanic SBOs vs. 51% of non-Hispanic SBOs), corporate tax rates (61% vs. 49%) and rising interest rates (61% vs. 45%).

·         Hispanic small business owners have stronger ties to family, friends and community

o    66% of Hispanic SBOs have received financial gifts or loans from family and/or friends at some point to fund their business (vs. only 37% of non-Hispanic SBOs)

o    42% of Hispanic SBOs say they will pass their business on to a family member (vs. only 18% of non-Hispanic SBOs)

o    69% of Hispanic SBOs say their local community is important to their business’ success (vs. only 47% of non-Hispanic SBOs)

More About Bank of America Executive Elizabeth Romero:

Elizabeth Romero is the Small Business Central Division Executive for Bank of America.  The Central Division is responsible for delivering Small Business solutions to clients across 10 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  In this role, Romero is responsible for developing and implementing the overall sales plan and strategy for the expansion and retention of the Small Business Banking segment within Bank of America’s footprint.  She is also responsible for setting sales goals and direction for the business segment, integrating sales efforts with product development and client service requirements, as well as developing and implementing an integrated approach and sales program with lines of business across the enterprise. She works closely with Financial Centers, Customer Contact Centers, Commercial Banking, GWIM, US Trust, Merchant and Corporate leadership. In her previous role, Romero was the Houston Metro Region Sales Executive whereshe oversaw seven Market Sales Managers who are responsible for financial center sales associates in 95 Financial Centers in the Houston Area. Romero was the Market Integration Executive for Houston for several years, focusing on how the various lines of business support one another. She has been in Consumer Banking for 23 years, joining Bank of America in 1993.  In March, Liz was recognized as a 2015 Pinnacle Award Winner.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from San Diego State University.

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