Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner stated Wednesday that banks and other financial institutions need to do more to help end the credit crunch that they started. To whit, he said “This credit crunch is not over. “It may feel dramatically better for large companies, but it is not over for small businesses across the country.”

He said this at a small business financing forum held at the Treasury, and he’s absolutely correct. One of the major complaints many of us have is that the government, with our tax dollars, bailed these people out, and they’ve returned the favor by not giving out loans that the government set up programs for, and by not fully turning themselves around and acting more responsibly in other areas.

Banks are unwilling to give out loans to small businesses, but they’re not alone. They’re also unwilling to give out loans to people looking to buy new homes or refinance homes at better rates, good credit scores or not. They’re coming up with all sorts of scenarios that are killing the nation’s ability to have credit cards at good and equitable rates.

Yesterday, for instance, my favorite “whipping boy” company, Citigroup, came out with something that stated consumers could keep lower percentage rates on their cards if they’ll spend monthly minimum amounts, some as high as $750 a month. If you have a $100,000 card, that might be a pittance, but if you have a $5,000 to $10,000 card and are expected to spend like that, as well as be able to pay down your card, for the majority it’s just not going to happen. I guess it’s anything to make a buck, but this company got a lot of bailout money, and they haven’t contributed anything back to consumers, if you remember yesterday’s article on home loans Citigroup hasn’t been giving out, and some of the other tricks they’ve pulled on consumers this year.

Truthfully, though Citi isn’t the only one. I don’t disagree that lenders need to tighten up their standards so that they don’t get into this kind of mess again. I do disagree, though, with some of the things they’ve been doing to try to make more money on our dime. If Citigroup wants to do all this punitive stuff, give the government back our money so that the government can try to use it to help the rest of us who need a boost. I’m a small business person, and it would be nice if I didn’t have to jump through hoops if I needed a business loan.

At least Geithner seems to be on our side. Now, if he can only figure out a way to get these lenders to let up off the money, many people would finally be able to get some relief.

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