It's an old truism that if you go into a bank for a loan and ask for a paltry $1,000 you will not get it, but if you ask for $10,000 you will. I mean I haven't tried this recently but my friend Florida Fred has and says it still stands. Well, it could be worse. You could be in Russia where I spent a little time some 20 years ago researching a book. I just came across an article in Pravda, which says that banks in Russia are business friendly for stable, reliable enterprises but they do not deal with beginners. Heck, that means they won't even lend the $10,000.This harkens back to 1990 in Moscow when entrepreneurs had to dig up their own start-up money as banks and any other such financial institutions simply were not too helpful at that time.

That's starting to change somewhat as Russian banks are moving slowly and slowly toward the small businessperson. Actually, Pravda reports that there are some 870,000 small businesses in Russia today although that community only employs 17 percent of the country's population.

Still, a poll was conducted a few months ago and it seems to show that banks do not give start-up loans to new small businesses, which obviously means they are not looking to develop the small business industry in the country at any time soon. It's been said that banks are quite friendly if they see that a company is stable and upstanding as long as it is not the first time that the business seeks a loan. Banks say they must be comfortable that a person has already raised loans and paid them back. Accordingly, financial support is vital.

So what do they give loans for? According to the banks, the security is on technological equipment and ready-made production. In fact, as collateral, banks pick up some 83 percent in the form of real estate. Bottom line? If you want a loan in Russia, you have to be a stable, reliable business. You can't be a beginner. And what's reliable and stable? Six months of successful activity. It's almost akin to a certain edict in the U.S. regarding specific industries and jobs: You must have a union card to get a job and you can't get a union card unless you have a job.

Now, how does all this play out in the states? It doesn't seem to matter whether you're a beginner or not. You can get a loan but it just can't be too small.

Is something wacky here, on both ends? Am I being rhetorical?

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