The approval percentage for small business loan applicants hit a record high of 27.3 percent at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) in March, up one-tenth of a percent from February, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.
“Approvals by big banks continue to climb. With strong financials from 2018, many small business owners are seeking capital for growth, and they have proven themselves to be creditworthy borrowers,” said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora, who oversees the monthly research derived from more than 1,000 small business credit applications on his company’s online lending platform.
“The Federal Reserve has slowed its trend of incremental interest rate hikes, which is good news for borrowers,” said Arora, one of the nation’s leading experts in small business finance. “Money is flowing to small businesses, while the cost of capital is still reasonable – especially loans from traditional bank loans.”
On March 20, the Federal Reserve indicated that it will not likely raise interest rates again in 2019, which means that the pattern of small but continuous rate hikes has come to a halt for now. The Fed says that its target rate will remain unchanged at between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent.
Small bank approvals of small business loan applications dropped two-tenths of a percent from 49.6% in February to 49.4 percent in March.
“Around this time each year, there often is a hold up because small banks – particularly lenders that process SBA loans — will wait to see the previous year’s tax filings before making a decision,” Arora explained.
“The New York District SBA Office guaranteed $82 million worth of loan guarantees last month, which is about $1 million less than what we guaranteed in March 2018,” said New York District Director, Beth Goldberg. “Year-over-year, we’ve seen an uptick in the dollar value of 7(a) loans – $408 million through March 2019, compared to $402 million through the same time period last year.”
Goldberg added that SBA’s Fiscal Year begins in October 1 and goes until September 30 of the following year.
“Administrator McMahon has been extremely supportive of small businesses all across the country in her role as the head of the SBA,” Arora said of SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, who announced last month that she will resign from her post. “Her passion for the success of small business has been inspiring, particularly to female entrepreneurs.”
Meanwhile, the Jobs Report released on April 5, reported 196,000 new jobs were created. The Labor Department also increased its February numbers, another positive sign. Overall, the economy is still performing well, and business optimism is still high, according to the most recent NFIB Small Business Optimism Index.
Institutional lenders climbed up to 65.4 percent, up a notch from 65.2 percent in February.
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.
Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged more than $2 billion in small business financing and has several times been named to Crain’s New York’s Fast 50.
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