Small Business Owners Urge Senate to Block Mnuchin as Secretary of Treasury

The confirmation of Mnuchin would be a return to the failed policies that decimated small businesses, caused widespread job loss and destroyed the economy.

Today, small business owners, still struggling in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, urge the Senate to oppose the nomination of Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury. One of the architects of the Great Recession, Mnuchin has a track record of irresponsible economic decisions, and cannot be trusted at the helm of the US economy.

The Treasury Secretary is the leading cabinet official responsible for the economy, tax revenues, and the stability of our financial system. As the economic drivers of our economy, small business owners need financial stability and access to capital to thrive and create jobs. While on Wall Street, Mnuchin’s practices resulted in small business owners losing capital, having to downsize, and on many occasions, shut their doors completely. Small businesses cannot afford another economic crisis like the Great Recession.

Mnuchin, the co-founder and former CEO of OneWest Financial, a predatory lending institution, has built his success at the expense of small business owners and the communities they serve. Notorious for their “foreclosure first” policies, OneWest and Mnuchin engaged in extractive business practices that decimated small business owners and their communities. Sixty percent of the net job loss between 2007 and 2012 was in the small business sector. For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, employment declined 14.1 percent, compared to an overall employment decline of 8.4 percent.   

During his tenure at OneWest, Mnuchin demonstrated a lack of commitment to fair and inclusive lending to small business owners. His financial institution had no significant branch presence in communities of color, rarely lent to small businesses, and has been accused of discriminatory lending practices.

“Given his history of predatory lending practices, and the very real challenges small business owners of color face in accessing and securing loans, it is profoundly disheartening that someone with Mnuchin’s track record would be offered this appointment,” said Michelle Sternthal, Main Street Alliance Deputy Director of Policy & Government Affairs.  

Main Street Alliance and our small business members urge the Senate to block Mnuchin’s nomination. A Wall Street financier who accumulated massive wealth by sapping the revenues of small business owners and hardworking homeowners can not be trusted to steward the U.S. economy.