Resources for Small Business Owners | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2024)

The CFPB and other government agencies help ensure equal credit opportunities by enforcing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) which applies to both business and consumer credit. ECOA makes it illegal for a lender to discriminate based on a business owner’s race, sex, religion and other characteristics in any aspect of new and existing business loans.

Learn more about credit discrimination and your rights.

Help for minority-, veteran-, and woman-owned small businesses

The Minority Business Development Agency  (MBDA), SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership  and Veterans Business Outreach Center  (VBOC) provide educational and financial resources to small business owners in these populations.

Support for starting a business

For help preparing your personal finances for entrepreneurship, check out our free resources on planning for life events and large purchases , organizing your finances  and understanding credit reports and scores.

Other great resources include the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of Commerce’s websites, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Money Smart for Small Business guide . For general advice and training, check out the Small Business Development Center's website .

Banks and credit unions are important sources of capital. You can find a list of banks through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation  (FDIC) (including minority-owned depository institutions ), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency , and Federal Reserve ’s websites. To learn more about credit unions visit  or use this tool to search for ones in your area . Find a list of certified community development financial institutions, specialized in lending to underserved people and communities .

You can also take advantage of the following information, resources, and organizations that can help you plan and start your small business:

  • Census Data . Find census information on the demographics of your community including population, housing, and the economy.
  • IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center Portal . Find answers to small business tax questions, plus access to forms and publications, a video library, an event calendar and other online tools and products.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA). Get help starting your business. The SBA maintains district offices in all 50 states to provide resources, training, and specialists to help start and grow businesses. Information is also provided on contracting opportunities with the Federal Government.
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Money Smart for Small Business . The FDIC’s Money Smart for Small Business portal offers a variety of training modules and other resources for those interested in starting and managing a small business on diverse topics from financial and risk management to tax planning, information on banking services, insurance options, and organizational structures.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Get advice and training for your small business. There are nearly 1,000 local SBDCs available to provide no-cost business assistance and free and at-cost training to new and existing businesses.
  • Social Security Online . Find information about a variety of social security resources for small businesses and their employees.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Department . Comprised of 12 different agencies, the Commerce Department promotes job creation and economic growth and works to strengthen America’s position in the global marketplace including the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics . Find information on U.S. working conditions, labor market activity, and price changes in the economy.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration – Provides small business owners with information they will need to provide employee benefits, such as a 401(k) plan or health insurance, to their employees.
  • U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEACs). Find information about export assistance programs and services. Each U.S. Export Assistance Center is staffed by professionals from the SBA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and other public and private organizations that have expert specialists available to work with businesses to realize export opportunities.
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office . Find information on how to apply for U.S. patents and register trademarks.
  • SCORE Association . Get a mentor for your small business. SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. SCORE offers free business training on many subjects.
  • SBA resources for LGBTQ+ owned businesses : The SBA has compiled resources and information to support the LGBTQ+ business community.
  • The Library of Congress resource guide for individuals reentering society : Many justice-involved individuals find that it may be advantageous to start their own businesses. This compilation of guides links to credible resources on the topic of starting a business.

Support for funding a small business

For information on how to fund your new or existing small business, check out the following:

  • GovLoans . Research many types of federal loans for your business and learn how to apply through programs of the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies.
  • . Explore the official access point for grants administered by government agencies. Start your search for grant opportunities and check “small businesses” in the eligibility box. To read the full eligibility for each grant and apply through, register an account first.
  • Banks are one of small businesses’ most important source of capital. Both large banks and smaller banks (often called “community banks”) lend to small businesses. You can find lists of banks provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation , the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency , and the Federal Reserve .
  • Credit unions are another importance source of small business credit for their members. Find out more about credit unions  and search for credit unions in your local area .
  • The banks and associations of the Farm Credit System  are key providers of financing for small farms and other agricultural businesses across the country. Of special note are offerings of these financial institutions to young, beginning, and small farmers.
  • Mission-based lenders have a particular focus on providing credit to traditionally underserved and low-income communities and individuals.
    • Community Development Financial Institutions  (CDFIs). CDFIs are specialized, mission-driven financial institutions that create economic opportunity for individuals and small businesses, quality affordable housing, and essential community services throughout the United States. View a list of certified CDFIs available at the site in both English and Spanish.
    • Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) often promote the economic viability of minority and under-served communities, and MDIs make a greater percentage of small-business loans to minority borrowers than other financial institutions. The FDIC maintains a list of MDIs nationwide .
Resources for Small Business Owners | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2024)


Does the CFPB help businesses? ›

We work to help small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs access the credit they need and deserve by increasing transparency and awareness in the lending marketplace.

Is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau legit? ›

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) helps consumers by providing educational materials and accepting complaints. It supervises banks, lenders, and large non-bank entities, such as credit reporting agencies and debt collection companies.

Does the CFPB really help consumers? ›

We protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law. We arm people with the information, steps, and tools that they need to make smart financial decisions.

What do small business owners need the most help with? ›

10 Things Every Small Business Needs to Do
  • You need to manage your cash.
  • You need to develop a data-based culture.
  • You need to engage in growth planning.
  • You need to understand your margins.
  • You need a recruiting strategy.
  • You need to listen online every day.
  • You need to engage in marketing that gives you ROI.

Does filing a complaint with CFPB do anything? ›

Consistent with applicable law, we securely share complaints with other state and federal agencies to, among other things, facilitate: supervision activities, enforcement activities, and. monitor the market for consumer financial products and services.

What government agency helps entrepreneurs? ›

Small Business Administration (SBA) — Federal agency that provides assistance to current and prospective small business owners.

What can the CFPB do for me? ›

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive.

Do banks take CFPB complaints seriously? ›

The complaints may be vague and unsupported but banks have to take them seriously, he said. If the CFPB decides to take an enforcement action based on complaints, legal costs for banks defending action can be tens of millions of dollars a month.

What does the CFPB investigate? ›

The CFPB investigates potential violations of federal consumer financial laws by entities or individuals within its authority and initiates public enforcement actions when appropriate.

What are the criticism of the CFPB? ›

Since the moment the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors over a decade ago, there have been criticisms about its lack of accountability and oversight, its largely unchecked structure and its inclination toward playing politics.

Can the CFPB get your money back? ›

If you're having trouble with a credit card, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). If you're not satisfied with the merchant's response, you may be able to dispute the charge with your credit card company and have the charge reversed. This is sometimes called a chargeback.

How to get money from CFPB? ›

Consumers can't apply to receive money from the Civil Penalty Fund. The CFPB determines which harmed consumers are eligible for the funds based on criteria described in the Civil Penalty Fund rule, which rely on the terms of our court and administrative orders.

What is the biggest problem facing small businesses today? ›

5 Biggest Challenges Facing Small Businesses Right Now
  • Inflation. Rising inflation isn't just an issue for consumers — it's one of the biggest challenges for small business owners, too. ...
  • Access to credit. ...
  • Rising interest rates. ...
  • Hiring and employee retention. ...
  • Supply chain disruptions.
Dec 5, 2023

How do I pay myself from my small business? ›

As a small business owner, you can pay yourself through an owner's draw, salary or combination method. Owner's draw: This allows business owners to pay themselves without issuing regular paychecks or withholding employment taxes.

What is the primary cause of small business failure? ›

The most common reasons small businesses fail include a lack of capital or funding, retaining an inadequate management team, a faulty infrastructure or business model, and unsuccessful marketing initiatives.

What is the main purpose of the CFPB? ›

The CFPB was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The purpose of the CFPB is to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services.

What does the CFPB do? ›

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive.

What has the CFPB accomplished? ›

In 2023, the CFPB filed 29 enforcement actions and resolved through final orders 6 previously-filed lawsuits. Those orders require lawbreakers to pay approximately $3.07 billion to compensate harmed consumers and pay approximately $498 million in civil money penalties.

What are the successes of the CFPB? ›

“The CFPB has racked up an impressive record of accomplishments, establishing clear rules to ensure consumers are treated fairly when they take out a loan, make a payment, or open a bank account; helping millions of consumers resolve their complaints with financial firms; and winning billions of dollars in relief for ...


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