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Wisconsin's small businesses and customers still find it hard to get credit

Wisconsin's small businesses and their customers still find it hard to get credit, more than a year after the markets tumbled.

U.S. House Republican Paul Ryan of Janesville says it's the biggest problem in the economy right now.

He says small- and medium-sized businesses need bank loans to get the recovery started, but banks won't lend it to them until they see things get better.

Marquette professor Joe Daniels calls it a chicken and egg problem for small firms which rely on bank financing.

But Kurt Bauer of the Wisconsin Bankers Association says it's wrong to portray his members as the bad guys.

He said banks used to have only a quarter of the nation's available credit.

Many non-banking options have dried up, and Bauer says it's impossible for banks to fill the gap so quickly.

Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells wants to open a water park near Washington, D.C.

But Todd Nelson says banks are telling him to come up with half the $250 million on his own, and then they might consider him loaning the rest.

He said it wasn't that long ago when a bank would loan 75-80 percent for such a project.

Meanwhile, businesses hit with demands for early loan payments are filing for bankruptcy.

Seventy Chapter 11 bankruptcies were filed in eastern Wisconsin in the first nine months of this year, up from 11 a year ago.