Currently federal funds rate is 2%, this is about what it should cost for a bank to borrow money from the government. I doubt lending money costs them much more than this. Loans taken by corporations seem to be around 2.5-5.5%. So from this, it seems like money is reasonably cheap in the US today.
However I would be lucky to get offered even double these interest rates from a bank if I went in and asked as an "average Joe". I have excellent credit (no liabilities, no delinquency, all payments on time for years), but personal loans and credit cards I get offered tend to be at least 12-13%. This despite the fact that I have liquid assets on hand to cover these several times over. On top of this, borrowing is not flexible and easy at all, the loan applications often have complicated terms. At such rates, it's practically impossible to meaningfully leverage any business activity, since even if borrowing at 12% the business or investments must perform phenomenally to turn a profit on top of this interest.
I realize that whenever you loan someone money, you have to mark up the interest to cover the risk of them not paying. But corporations go bankrupt all the time too. Is an average person with steady income and good credit history really at that much higher risk of failing to repay so as to justify interest rates 2-10 times higher (compared to corporate)? Or is it just a case of the bank massively overcharging people because they have no alternative? Why can't ordinary people obtain modest loans at reasonable rates (which would make it realistic to use the money for investment, for instance)?
Note: To clarify, I am asking about obtaining any sort of loan as a private person with intent to use it for investment purposes and generate a profit. So the money should come with few strings attached (not forced to use for a specific purpose like buying a car or house) and sufficiently low interest. Consider the nature of investment or business to be open ended, but let's say 7% annually before tax for the sake of the argument. Assume I have documented stable income, no outstanding debts (except for credit card statements which get paid immediately), my FICO score is 800, I have assets both liquid (eg. cash) and illiquid (eg. car, valuable possessions) comparable to amount of loan I am seeking.