That sound you hear is the humming engine of the American economy starting to pick up speed.
Our economy is the engine that creates American growth and prosperity, and the capital markets are the fuel that makes that engine run. We are the best country in the world. Our citizens are innovators with good ideas who are willing to put sweat equity into creating something, and the financial industry partners with these innovators by giving them access to capital and credit at a reasonable price to grow businesses. That's how jobs are created through the "American Advantage."
America's success and prosperity depends on a vibrant financial system that provides access to capital and credit at a reasonable price that helps people on Main Streets across America build on their dreams of opening a small business, saving to send their children to college, buying their first home or saving for retirement.
Since the downturn, America's financial institutions are now lending again to the small businesses that are so critical to job creation and economic growth.
In 2012, banks have increased loans to small businesses by more than $11 billion. Last year, 13 major banks made a commitment, along with the Small Business Administration, to increase lending for small businesses by $20 billion by the end of 2014. This year alone, bank lending to small businesses has increased by $11 billion -- more than half of the industry's three-year goal.
A robust financial system is indeed a vital component of a vibrant economy. In fact, we know our industry employs close to 8 million people nationwide. They include people far beyond Wall Street. They are the local banker who helps finance a small business to go from an idea on paper to a store front with employees helping customers. They are municipal advisors who help local communities issue bonds to pay for new bridges and schools. They are financial advisors who help small businesses provide 401(k)s for their employees to save for retirement.
This country's future is extraordinary. We're going through a paradigm shift where we'll have the lowest cost energy in the world. We'll be unbelievably competitive. We have all this liquidity and have people who are willing to take risks and create jobs. We need to focus on ensuring that rules and regulations don't stifle liquidity, nor raise the price of capital and credit for businesses.
As we all strive to make this great country even that much greater to the benefit of all people and future generations I encourage folks to take a moment and reflect on the important role of the industry and the connection we all share.
Follow Judd A. Gregg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SIFMA