The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is a federal program that provides funding to states, territories, Tribal governments, and eligible municipalities to support financing for small businesses. The SSBCI was reauthorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with a requirement that participating jurisdictions make certain assistance available to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. To monitor compliance with this requirement, this interim final rule requires the collection of demographic information, such as race, ethnicity, sex, and sexual orientation and gender identity, of the principal owners of small businesses receiving aid under the SSBCI.
Over 7.7 million LGBT adults live in states without explicit statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in credit. Existing research suggests that, throughout their lives, LGBT adults will face challenges in attempting to access credit and across a broad range of credit-related activities.
The comment documents research from the Williams Institute and other sources that demonstrates ongoing experiences of discrimination. Scholars present data on economic disparities LGBT people face compared to their non-LGBT peers and discuss the obstacles that LGBT adults face when attempting to access credit. In addition, the comment provides guidance on the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information.