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Oversight panel attempts to track bank bail-out money; troubles reported

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Three Wisconsin small business owners told a congressional oversight panel they're having trouble getting help from banks which got federal bailout money.

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Elizabeth Warren, the head of the panel, said she was struck by how consistent the complaints were. But she refused to say how Wednesday's testimony at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee would be incorporated into the panel's next report in May.

The panel is attempting to track the $700 billion in federal tax money from the financial services' bailout.

They came to Milwaukee to see if the infusion of cash had trickled out to small companies.

Wayne Perrins of Badger Trailer and Equipment said his company went through a difficult restructuring, and then sought another loan.

But their bank not only told them no, they also wanted an early payback of a previous $2 million loan, even though the firm had never missed a payment on it.

The bank wouldn't comment on that particular case.

But that firm and others defended their use of federal bailout money, saying they've loaned millions to Wisconsin businesses and individuals over the last six months.

A member of the oversight panel, Damon Silvers, said Wisconsin is "kind of a reality check for Washington."

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