Bill aims to help veteran-owned small businesses
Tom Figlozzi fought in Vietnam as a Navy Seabee and survived the war, although he is disabled, suffering from diabetes and other ailments as a result of the effects of the herbicide Agent Orange used by the U.S. military to destroy the enemy countryside.
Figlozzi worked for several sheet-metal companies when he left the service, and in 1987 he finally managed to start his own business, Precision Metals Corp., a parts maker in Bay Shore, using a $50,000 home equity loan.
What he has not been able to do is to get a bank loan to expand his company, which now has about 68 employees and sales of about $10 million.
"They said they're not lending," Figlozzi, 63, company president, said earlier this week.
His story is familiar to thousands of small business people across the country, but Figlozzi and other veterans may now get some help.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) last week successfully attached an amendment to the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, which has been passed by the House, that requires banks participating in government lending programs to conduct outreach, including advertising, to small businesses owned by veterans and women.
It also requires the Treasury secretary to consider whether participating banks serve small businesses that are veteran-owned.
The bill further requires that the Treasury monitor the number of veteran-owned businesses getting loans each year.
Israel said he was talking to Precision Metals about a Defense Department contracting matter when the loan issue came up.
"They couldn't borrow money," Israel said of Precision. "They're like a lot of other businesses on Long Island."
The Senate must now take up the measure, hopefully before Congress takes its August break.
Figlozzi's son, Tony, 37, a company vice president, said Precision Metals' revenues are about 95 percent from defense contracts.
He said the company has about $20 million in orders, mostly from the government.
But the banks, he said, were not interested.
"Even with that much of a backlog, there were no loans," he said.
Corrections officer arrest ... Tasty new food at Yankee Stadium ... Top 100 LI Softball and Baseball players