News digest: Small business lending, HuffPost sale, new health care debate


Small business loans still lag. After months of economic uncertainty, some banks are eager to lend to businesses again, yet  bank lending to small businesses continue to lag other loan types, the Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, more banks have eased loan terms over the past three months for large and mid-size firms than for small firms, according to a Federal Reserve report issued last week. Among new loan requests, 30 percent of banks surveyed said they came from medium- and large-size firms, while 5 percent reported increased demand from small firms, the report said.

HuffPost’s social media savvy pays offs.  Now that AOL has agreed to acquire The Huffington Post for $315 million, the Post extensive use of social media is being credited for its quick rise to the top. That’s good news for other savvy sites because the Post used the same Internet marketing outlets that all entrepreneurs have access to, Small Business Trends reported.  The company will likely serve as an example for other media companies to follow, the New York Times reported. In her blog, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington writes that AOL had off-the-charts brand awareness, and off-the-charts user trust and loyalty, but almost no brand identity, while the Huffington Post was looking to grow across the board.  Huffington will serve as president and editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Post Media Group, which plans to combine the Post and AOL content, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Long-term care provision debated. Another provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is being debated in an effort to adjust portions of the bill rather than toss the whole thing, the Wall Street Journal reported. This time, the financial sustainability of the Class Act, which would provide injured or ill workers with a minimum of $50 daily to cover care costs, is under the microscope with opponents arguing that revenue from the provision will never match its high costs. Supporters fear that the current law allows too low an income level for participation and could result in a grab on benefits that would drain the system, the article said. They suggest the new legislation will support a health care overhaul in the next 10 years  “because it will take in more premiums than it pays out in benefits,” the article said.  

Obama wants more job creation.  President Barack Obama told business leaders Monday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that they “had a responsibility to America” to use money earned in tax breaks and other federal support systems to add domestic jobs, despite lagging consumer demand, the Wall Street Journal reported. The end result of tax breaks and investments can t simply be that new breakthroughs and technologies are discovered in America, but then the manufacturing takes place overseas, he said. But some disagreed with Obama’s perspective. The recovery is going to be driven by the 70 percent of the economy that is consumption, not the 15 percent that is investment, Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, told the Journal.