Big Bank Approval Rates for Small Business Loans Drop, According to October 2014 Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index

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Lending Approval Rates Slow Down After Six Months of Increases at Big Banks; Impact of Institutional Lenders in Small Business Finance

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Lending approval rates at big banks are up nearly 20 percent in comparison to pre-government shutdown numbers as the economy continues its slow but steady rebound.

Small business loan approval rates at big banks dropped for the first time in seven months, according to the October 2014 Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Small business loan approval rates at banks with $10 billion+ in assets dipped to 20.4% in October from 20.6% in September.

“Big banks have demonstrated their commitment to small business owners over the last year. However, institutional lenders are moving into the marketplace and attracting high quality borrowers,” said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora, who oversaw the research. “Despite the small drop in approval percentages, big bank financing of small businesses is up nearly 20 percent in comparison to last November when the economy was reeling from the government shutdown. With improving economic conditions, entrepreneurs have shown willingness to invest in their firms more this year than in any other since the Great Recession of 2009-11.”

The percentage of loans granted by small banks slipped for the fifth consecutive month to 50.2% from 50.3% last month. Yet they still continue to approve more than half of the loan requests they receive.

"Some smaller banks are paying the price for being slow to accept online applications," Arora said. "The increased competition from big banks and institutional lenders are hurting them because borrowers are going to these competitors instead of small banks."

Meanwhile, institutional lenders granted 59.7% of the funding requests they received in October, a slight increase from 59.5% in September. Approval rates by institutional lenders have increased every month since Biz2Credit began monitoring this category of lenders in January 2014.

"Small business lending is becoming mainstream among institutional players, who are offering more long-term products. They look to be a long-term threat for banks in the small business lending space," Arora explained. "Big banks long had the advantage of a vast distribution network, the branches, which are now fading away. Also, immigrants are not as impressed by the brand names of big banks. That's an advantage they long held."

"People are seeking to do capital investments and are looking for money and shopping around. You can easily shop online and get longer terms,” explained Arora, one of the nation’s leading experts in small business lending.

At the same time, approval rates at alternative lenders -- merchant cash advance companies, factors, and other non-bank institutions -- slipped for the ninth consecutive month to 62.1% in October, from 62.6% in September. Credit unions granted 43.5% of loan applications in October, a slight rise over the approval rate of 43.4% last month. However, a year-to-year comparison shows that lending approval rates at credit unions are down as they continue to be an afterthought by small business loan applicants.

To view the historic chart of the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, visit http://www.biz2credit.com/small-business-lending-index/october-2014.

About the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index
Biz2Credit analyzed loan requests ranging from $25,000 to $3 million from companies in business more than two years with an average credit score above 680. Unlike other surveys, the results are based on primary data submitted by more than 1,000 small business owners who applied for funding on Biz2Credit’s online lending platform, which connects business borrowers and lenders.

About Biz2Credit
Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged more than $1.2 billion in small business funding throughout the U.S. and is widely recognized as the #1 online credit resource for startup loans, lines of credit, equipment loans, working capital and other funding options. Using the latest technology, Biz2Credit matches borrowers to financial institutions based on each company's unique profile -- completed in less than four minutes -- in a safe, efficient, price-transparent environment. Biz2Credit’s network consists of 1.6 million users, 1,300+ lenders, credit rating agencies such as D&B and Equifax, and small business service providers including CPAs and lawyers. Visit http://www.biz2credit.com, follow on Twitter @Biz2Credit, and join on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/biz2credit.

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