SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Back in 2008, in the midst of the last U.S. recession, Filipino American Liza Tan was gutsy enough to put up her own business in San Francisco.
But she quickly realized it was not going to be easy.
“It was really tough at the time. It was really slow, and we just kept pushing through.”
In those times, the recession hit many people in America by surprise, and many Filipinos lost their jobs, homes and possessions.
“Well, back then it was pretty scary. Because remember, that recession was started by the housing crunch, the housing crisis.”
Anne Marie Cruz, a former banker in the financial industry, said the challenge for most Filipinos then was understanding America’s financial system.
“I think the big disconnect is financial literacy in our community where, you know, we find out about credit. But I think when we look at the microlevel in the Filipino community, oftentimes, we didn’t understand what we were getting into until it was too late.”
With the possibility of another recession on the horizon, former banker Marius Angara predicts those in the service sector will take a hit.
“They’re the ones that will be impacted first, because when people’s income is affected, they will spend less.”
Cruz said that to lessen the blow of a potential recession – people must not only be resilient, but be nimble when things start to get tough.
“I think one of the advantages to our community is we’re very employable, you know, we tend to reach a certain level of education, we, we usually go down the professional route. So I think, worst case scenario, if someone has to walk away from their business, if that’s what it takes, I think a lot of us are very employable.”
For small business owners like Tan, who managed to survive the last recession, they can only hope they’ve learned their lessons and can ride another one out.
“Just don’t give up and we just keep hoping that things will turn out the way it will for the best and just have faith right? faith in what we do. And then God.”
“In every recession, one of the damaging aspects according to financial experts is the uncertainty of how long it can last. But given this, the grit of the Filipino workforce will have to shine through as they try to rough it out with the rest of the field and come out the other end, stronger, and wiser.