A Useful Franchise News Roundup For June 1

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A roundup of franchise news from around the nation and world. Enjoy!

Big Banks Say They’re “Trying” To Lend

Banks have been getting hammered recently over their perceived inability or unwillingness to lend to small businesses. As I’ve written before on this blog, doing anything that seems to hamper, hinder or hamperhinder small businesses will make you unpopular in short order.

That perception is being challenged by bankers such as Marc Bernstein, who told Reuters that those advising small businesses to avoid big banks are being fed “bad information.”

The head of Wells Fargo’s small business lending initiatives then pointed to the $3.7 billion the country’s fourth-largest bank (by total assets) lent to small firms over the first three months of the year – an increase of 27 percent over the first quarter of 2010.

“That’s not small change,” said Bernstein, who added Wells Fargo is the largest national lender of loans under $100,000 and was recently honored as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2011 Large 7(a) Lender of the Year. “We are trying to do everything we can to get people who apply for a loan approved, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of small businesses that unfortunately have been hit very badly by the downturn and are struggling and it’s hard to see how they’re going to handle more debt.”

Of course, there are plenty of small businesses who either can’t get lending from a bank or feel they can’t, as I noted yesterday at BizEngine. There are alternatives. But it’s worth remembering that lenders may not be as instrasingent as is being widely reported.

Subway To Take On The Coffee Market

There’s an old maxim that people and businesses should focus on doing one thing well, lest they not do anything well. Subway has decided that it does sandwiches well, and now it’s time to tackle coffee.

As a casual consumer of coffee, I have never understood why every business feels the compelling need to get into coffee. Dunkin’ Donuts, yes. McDonald’s, perhaps less so.  You would think at some point that field would get crowded, but apparently the American desire for coffee is utterly insatiable.

With that in mind, the newish Subway Cafe is tapping into a huge market. Basically offering desserts, coffee and other offerings in a slightly more upscale environment, while also still offering up the sandwiches they’re known for. It’s catching on a little bit, with about 15 locations nationwide and one in Canada, the latest in business to “scale up” their offerings

Time will tell if it’s an effective strategy for Subway.

Hotels Fighting To Provide Latest Movies

When we stay at hotels franchises, the last thing many of us think about is how those movies get to us. If you choose to stay at bed and breakfasts like the wife and I do on our rare vacations, you’re probably stuck watching Crocodile Dundee, if you’re tired enough to resort to watching movies at all.

But this New York Times article chronicles the interesting process of getting movies to those staying at various hotels. The services such hotels use are often expensive—newer, hi-def movies can cost $29.99 from one service—and don’t always offer the newest films. In a hotel industry that values free and low-priced offerings, this is a strikingly high price.

If the hotels have any leverage at all here, expect to see those prices come down.

Seven Franchise Growing By Leaps And Bounds

As our bonus article for the day, check out this profile of seven growing franchises you can hitch your wagon to as an entrepreneur. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo credit to dspruitt at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1331114

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