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U.S. Treasury’s Yellen says with aid, Hispanic firms can lead recovery

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces members of his economic policy team in Wilmington, Delaware

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she believes Hispanic entrepreneurs can help lead the United States out of crisis if longstanding barriers to their access to capital and employment can be reduced.

Yellen, in prepared remarks to a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce online event, said that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan will help Latino-owned businesses through direct payments, housing aid and a $12 billion infusion into Community Development Financial Institutions that target low-income areas.

The CDFI investments will make a “meaningful difference” in the ability of Latino-owned businesses to access capital.

“With the passage of the rescue plan, we will thankfully avoid economic scarring on a mass scale,” Yellen said, adding that the Hispanic community will still likely be hit hard.

Yellen repeated her expectation that the United States would return to full employment by 2022, adding: “If history is any guide, Hispanic-owned businesses will drive a large portion of the recovery.”

She cited statistics from 2007-2012, the years of the Great Recession and recovery showing that Latino-owned businesses grew 3.3% during the period, while non-Latino-owned businesses declined by 3.6%. After 2012, the number of new Latino-owned businesses grew at more than twice the national average.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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