“It’s actually a really great time to access small-business capital,” said Keri Gohman, executive vice president and head of small-business banking for Capital One. “Rates are low and banks are also feeling the economic recovery. We really want to lend. Small-business owners can shop around and work with banks to find the best rates.”
But industry observers caution that both demand for, and access to, capital remain well below where they might be in a strong economy. For example, large banks approved 20 percent of small-business loan requests in June, up from 9 percent three years ago, according to data from Biz2Credit, an online small-business loan broker. But before the recession, the rate was around 36 percent, said Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit’s chief executive.
Perhaps surprisingly, banks seem more eager to lend than small businesses are to borrow. “Demand is up 20 to 25 percent from the trough of the downturn, but that’s still very subdued compared to before the downturn,” said Paul Ballew, chief data and analytics officer for Dun & Bradstreet. “From the peak to the trough, there was about a 50 percent decline in that time. We’re a little beyond halfway back, but we still have a long way to go.”
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