IFA Chairman Jon Luther discusses how lending shortfalls impede franchise business growth on Fox Business and CNBC

A new report from the IFA shows a bank lending shortfall that could cost the franchise industry 94,000 jobs.  Jon Luther, IFA Chairman and Chairman of the Board for Dunkin’ Brands and Arby’s International, joined CNBC’s Squawk Box and Fox Business to discuss how the IFA is helping the small business community recover from the lending crisis.

Bringing together bankers and franchisors at IFA’s Annual Small Business Lending Summit today and tomorrow will educate how successful franchising can be in this difficult market, explains Luther.  “Franchises have a very high success rate and everyone coming together at the summit aides the world of franchising,” Luther says.  There is a high demand for franchising because the formula for franchising is a workable formula that has been proven and tested and there is a high success rate when opening a franchise store.

Key policymakers and financial regulators, including Karen Mills, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will join IFA at its summit.  It is important to bring bankers together to communicate how the demand has built for lending.  Through IFA’s summit the franchise industry, lending and policy leaders will assess progress, challenges and steps needed to expand credit access and capital to create small-business jobs. “Education is now working and lending is freeing up giving franchising the ability to continue to spur job creation,” says Luther.

For more information on IFA’s Small Business Lending Summit click here.

Posted by Jenna Weisbord, IFA Manager of Communications & Marketing

Updated: Judge strikes down NLRB poster ruling

In an important ruling for the franchise industry, today, the U.S. District Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction to delay the effective date, originally set as April 30, for the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Notice Posting Rule,” which would have required businesses to post a biased notice explaining an employee’s right to organize as a union.

“This is a critical win for franchise business owners as we continue our aggressive efforts to battle against unfair and unnecessary regulations that impede the industry’s ability to grow and create jobs,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “The injunction in this case is the right ruling as we continue to make the case that this rule is unfair to business owners.  We will work with other business groups to appeal the original ruling so that franchise businesses can operate on a level playing field.”

IFA and other members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce said that the poster failed to explain an employee’s right to decertify an unwanted union, right to refuse to pay dues used for political purposes, or explain employees’ rights in “right to work” states such as South Carolina, Indiana and North Carolina. Today’s ruling delays the implementation date until the court has a chance to hear arguments and issue a ruling.

The injunction comes at the request of employers after a decision by a federal district court in South Carolina that struck down the NRLB rule.  On Friday, April 13, the U.S. District Court of South Carolina agreed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who filed the suit against the NLRB. The court stated that the National Labor Relations Act does not “even mention the issue of notice posting.” The decision means businesses will likely no longer have to post the notice by April 30, 2012.

The April 13 ruling was an important step towards limiting the NLRB’s recent excesses. The poster is a small part of a larger battle IFA continues to fight against organized labor’s desire to tilt the playing field in its favor.  IFA continues to wait a court decision on the CDW lawsuit challenging the NLRB’s “Ambush Election Rule,” which is likely to come this month. Also, the DC Circuit court has to decide on CDW’s suit determining whether the NLRB even has the authority to conduct business given the nature of the recent “recess” appointments by the Administration. As a Management Committee leader in CDW, the IFA plays a critical role in holding the NLRB accountable for the many unlawful decisions it has made or proposed in the last year.

First Lady Praises Businesses’ Contributions to Joining Forces Campaign

Veterans’ employment campaign reaches goal early.

First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated Americans and U.S. businesses for enabling Joining Forces, the campaign to help hire veterans and their spouses, to surpass its goal to hire 50,000 and instead announced its 60,000th hire on April 12.

The First Lady made the announcement in Shreveport, La.

“Whenever we have asked Americans to step up, no matter who we were talking to, they have gone above and beyond our expectations—just above and beyond,” said the First Lady in prepared comments.  “And I want these veterans to understand that.   America is stepping up in big ways.”

Mrs. Obama pointed to U.S. businesses as leading the charge to hire veterans and their spouses.  “America’s businesses have overwhelmed us with their response,” said Obama.  The First Lady specifically noted the International Franchise Association with its pledge of 80,000 hires, which is part of VetFran’s Operation Enduring Opportunity initiative.  Companies such as Sears, and Snap-on Tools, along with others, have committed to hire at least 160,000 veterans and military spouses in the coming years.  “And that’s above and beyond the 60,000 that we’re talking about here today.  That’s on top of it,” said Obama.

On April 11, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Snap-on Tools Military Program Manager Jon Rucker to the White House as part of the Joining Forces celebration.

“We were honored to be a part of the Joining Forces celebration,” said Rucker. “The collaboration of country, community, and selfless individuals to accomplish a common good for our military families, service members and veterans was amazing.”

“The Joining Forces program parallels the VetFran Operation Enduring Opportunity initiative; both resonate the value of being a part of something ‘bigger than oneself,’” said Rucker.  “Giving back to our military community makes perfect sense and is something we are proud to support.”

“I know my words echo those of many:  I was truly humbled by the scope and grace of this event,” Rucker added.

Visit Vetfran.com for more on the franchise industry’s activities to help veterans access careers and employment in franchising.

Posted by Laura Fenwick, IFA Publishing Manager

Chris Hurn, IFA Member, invited to testify


Chris Hurn, IFA Member and CEO/Cofounder of Mercantile Capital Corporation, was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Thursday, March 29 2012. As a small business lender specializing in the SBA 504 loan program, he was asked by the Senate Committee to comment on the SBA FY 2013 budget request. Specifically, Hurn proposed a road map for how to get the SBA 504 loan program back to its historical zero-subsidy status.


Through most of its history, the 504 program has been supported by user fees rather than government appropriations. This hasn’t been the case in recent years, due in large part to the “Great Recession” and ensuing credit crisis. Hurn proposed three things to reestablish the 504 as a zero-subsidy program: 1) empowering CDCs to make recoveries in the 504 loan program and incentivizing them to do so; 2) extending the 504 Refi and FMLP programs by at least one year, through September 2013; and 3) implementing extra measures that may include lowering the 504 program authority and/or increasing borrower fees above their statutory minimum. A combination of these things, Hurn says, will help clean up the SBA budget by getting the 504 back to zero-subsidy status.


To read Hurn’s full testimony that was submitted to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, go here.

Hiring Our Heroes Proves Intrepid

IFA joined a live broadcast from the USS Intrepid on NBC’s Today Show in New York Wednesday to show support for Hiring Our Heroes, an industry campaign led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to employ returning veterans, as it marked the anniversary of its start in 2011.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Jill Biden of the White House Joining Forces effort, and Medal of Honor recipient and Marine veteran Dakota Meyer were among the celebrities featured live on the Today show anchored by Ann Curry, who spoke emphatically about the need to help U.S. veterans transition from the military to civilian employment. “This is the best-trained, most qualified force in American history,” Curry said. “We need to step up to make sure they are hired when they come home.” Curry’s father was a U.S. Navy veteran who met Curry’s mother in Guam.

Hiring Our Heroes Executive Director Kevin Schmiegel applauded the business community for hiring 9,000 veterans so far, but said an expanded effort is needed. Small business, said the Marine veteran who served 20 years, is central to the next phase of the campaign.

“I would like to see veterans employed by small businesses, where they can eventually become owners,” said Bloomberg, speaking to IFA representatives. He noted that IFA’s International Franchise Expo will for the first time take place in New York City June 15-17 at the Javits Center. Veterans will be invited to attend without charge. “That’s great,” Bloomberg said. Over 15,000 attendees are expected, including veterans for whom specific programming — and new discounts offered by brands such as Choice Hotels, Jiffy Lube and Cici’s Pizza — are in the plans.

Hiring Our Heroes announced a new commitment to hire and offer career opportunities to 500,000 veterans by 2014, including the 80,000 opportunities offered by franchising in IFA’s VetFran and Operation Enduring Opportunity campaigns. The commitment is now backed by Capital One, the McLean-based bank, which pledged $4.5 million to bolster Hiring Our Heroes.

Medal of Honor recipient Meyer thanked business representatives including the IFA for what they are doing. “I am grateful,” he said simply. Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the first living United States Marine in 38 years to be so honored.

Posted by Beth Solomon, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Industry Relations

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