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Bank of America exec praises tenacity of Hispanic entrepreneurs

The executive of the Bank of America Small Business Division, Elizabeth Romero, poses for EfE during an interview in Houston, Texas. March 5, 2019. EPA- EFE/Ana María Alarcón

The executive of the Bank of America Small Business Division, Elizabeth Romero, poses for EfE during an interview in Houston, Texas. March 5, 2019. EPA- EFE/Ana María Alarcón

EFE

Elizabeth Romero, Small Business Central Division executive with Bank of America, said in an interview with EFE that Hispanic business owners are determined and not easily discouraged.

“The Hispanic who has a small business is a fighter. He doesn’t give up and she fights to achieve her dreams,” she said. “They came to the US to be someone, for themselves and their families.”

Latino business people “seek a way to convert any obstacle into something positive,” Romero said.

“This year their businesses have grown much more than expected, which is a very big motivation for them, their employees, their families and their communities,” she said.

Bank of America presented Monday the results of its third annual Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight survey, which showed greater optimism among Latino entrepreneurs than among their non-Hispanic peers.

To produce the report, GfK Social and Strategic Research surveyed 1,067 Hispanic and non-Hispanic small business owners between Aug. 30 and Oct. 16, 2018, and conducted 303 interviews among Hispanic entrepreneurs.

The definition of small business used for the survey is firms with annual revenue in the range of $100,000 and $4.9 million employing anywhere from two to 99 people.

The survey found that nearly nine in every 10 Latino owners plan to expand their businesses in the next 12 months, compared with 67 percent of non-Hispanics.

Asked about the outlook for the next five years, 79 percent of Latinos said they expected to expand. The figure among non-Hispanics was 55 percent.

Sixty-eight percent of Latino business owners said they expected their firms’ financial situation to improve over the next 12 months, while 54 percent of non-Hispanics expressed that sentiment.

Regarding the US economy as a whole, majorities of both Hispanics (59 percent) and non-Hispanics (55 percent) said they were counting on improvement.

“There is a lot of confidence and optimism at the local and national level, though there are also concerns, such as the cost of health coverage, which has emerged in the last three years,” Romero said.

Besides health-care costs, cited by 70 percent of respondents,61 percent of business owners expressed worry about rising prices of basic goods and 60 percent said they feared potential economic disruption resulting from the trade policies of President Donald Trump.

Romero said that Bank of America has “a lot of interest” in understanding the expectations and concerns of Hispanics, who make up 11 percent of the institution’s small business clients.

She pointed out that one third of BofA employees speak Spanish and that all of the bank’s online content and the apps it offers to account holders are also available in Spanish.


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