Small business loans up slightly in August

Lenders both traditional and non-traditional approved slightly higher numbers of small business loans in August, according to a study from online lender Biz2Credit.

Small banks’ approval of small business loan applications slightly increased from 19.1 percent in July to 19.3 percent in August, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released Sept. 14. The approval percentage at small banks is up eight-tenths of a percent from a year ago. Small business loan approval percentages at banks with at least $10 billion in assets increased from 13.8 percent to 13.9 percent in August, up three-tenths of a percentage from one year ago. Institutional lenders approved 24.3 percent of loan applications in August, also a slight increase from 23.9 percent the previous month and up 2.2 percentage points from one year ago. Alternative lenders approved 25.2 percent of funding applications last month, up from 24.7 percent in July and 23 percent in August 2020. Credit unions approved 20.5 percent in August, the same as the two previous months but down from 21.1 percent in August 2020. 

Biz2Credit analyzed loan requests from companies in business for more than two years with credit scores higher than 680. The study was based on data submitted by more than 1,000 small business owners applying for funding on Biz2Credit’s platform. 

“Small businesses are again borrowing to improve their cash flow and for growth,” said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora. 

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 last month, and the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percent to 5.2 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, notable job gains were seen last month in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education, manufacturing and other services. Employment in retail trade declined over the month. 

Bangor, Wis.-based First National Bank President Bill Bosshard said the lending environment for small businesses is “very, very competitive” for community banks as they encounter more liquidity than in previous years. The main obstacle to such lending is businesses facing shortages of parts and labor, deficits leaving some Wisconsin restaurants to not open on Mondays and Tuesdays or reduce evening hours.