Banks are tightening credit at the fastest rate in history, making it more difficult for viable businesses to get the cash they need to meet payrolls and pay off maturing debt. Entrepreneurs warn that the withdrawal of credit for small business, which employs half the country's workforce, will hurt economic recovery. "We have a proven track record, we pay our bills early, and we're profitable," says Carmine Ryan, co-founder of Ryan Bros. Coffee in San Diego. "But banks are so gun-shy now that no one would touch us. They're just sitting on the money."
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