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Small Business Lending in the United States 2012
The Office of Advocacy annually publishes Small Business Lending in the United States, which provides information on the lending activities of depository lenders. Data used in the analysis come from the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Reports starting in June 1994) and the reports required under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA starting in 1998). The data cover savings banks, savings and loan associations, and commercial banks. Geographically, the report covers the U.S territories, the District of Columbia and all the states.
View Tables 3A and 3B expanded. These tables cover small business lending under $1 million and micro-business lending under $100,000 (PDF file). The tables use the Call Report data to rank all lenders by state.
*No banks filed a call report for 2012.
Download data tables – This is a self-extracting executable file containing a zipped excel file with complete data on the directory of banks by state.
Small Business Research Summary
July 2013 No. 414
Small Business Lending in the United States, 2012
by Victoria Williams, U.S. Small Business Administration,
Office of Advocacy, Office of Economic Research, 2012,  pages.
Understanding how small businesses are financed is
important, since small firms are major contributors
to the economy. Small businesses tend to rely on traditional
depository institutions for their credit needs.
Since the end of the recession in mid-2009, overall
lending conditions have improved for businesses, but
improvement has been slower for small firms. This
report provides information on recent developments
in small business borrowing by analyzing the lending
patterns of depository lending institutions nationally
and at the local level.
For nearly two decades, the Office of Advocacy has
provided a yearly review of the small business lending
activities of depository lending institutions in
the United States using data from the Call Reports
(Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income)
and the CRA reports required by the Community
Reinvestment Act. Data compiled from these reports
are the only timely information that looks at the
lending environment of small businesses by multi-
national lenders and lenders at the local level.
Previous evidence suggesting that small traditional
lenders represent the majority of lending institutions
continues to hold true. In addition, nondepository
lenders such as credit unions, finance companies,
and others have become increasingly important as
suppliers of credit to small firms.
Although the banking industry has undergone
major consolidation, the market for small business
loans tends to be local in nature. The literature shows
that the impact of consolidation activity on the availability
of credit to small firms is minimal, and is
generally offset by an increase in small business
lending by other banks.
The first section of Part One looks at the developments
apparent in the Call Report data; the second
reviews developments based on the CRA database.
Listings of the top small and micro business
lenders in the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
and the U.S. territories are found in Part Two of
the report. All small business lenders filling reports
in the U.S. economy are examined. Small business
loans are defined throughout the report as loans
under $1 million.
• Total small business borrowing from depository
lenders remained subdued for both commercial
real estate (CRE) and commercial and industrial
(C&I) loans under $1 million, while large business
borrowing increased. The value of these
small business loans outstanding declined by
3.1 percent in 2012, compared with 7.0 percent
the previous year, while large business loans in
excess of $1 million increased by 12 percent in
2012, compared with 5.8 percent in 2011.
• In 2012, the value of micro business loans—the
smallest business loans of less than $100,000—
was $138.2 billion, compared with $139.5 billion
in 2011, a decrease of roughly 1 percent; the
decline was in commercial real estate loans.
• Lenders with total assets between $1 billion and
$10 billion and those with assets between $100
million and $500 million combined accounted
for 39.3 percent of all small business loans, and
for more than half—53.3 percent—of the total
decline in small business loans.
• Two ratios are used to gauge changes in lend
ers’small business lending activity. The total
assets ratio is the ratio of small business loans
to total lender assets and the total business loan
ratio is the ratio of small business loans to total
business loans. Both were down in 2012—the
total assets ratio by 4.3 percent and the total
business loan ratio by 0.3 percent—showing
that small business borrowers were less successful
than large business borrowers in competing
for business loans.
• The largest lenders, with $50 billion or more
in assets, are active in the C&I micro business
lending market, where they represent 68.7 percent
of small business loans.
• CRA-reporting institutions made a total of 3.3
million small business loans valued at $178.8
billion in 2011.
Policymakers interested in small business access to
credit will find that the information presented in this
report is an important part of the overall picture of
small business financial markets. The findings suggest
that it would be useful to evaluate the variables
and methodology used for the popular credit scoring
models. The results may also be helpful to small
businesses interested in finding the lender that best
suits their needs.
Scope and Methodology
Two types of data are used to analyze the lending
environment of depository financial institutions for
the years 2011-2012. The CRA 2011 data represent
loans made during the 2011 calendar year, and the
Call Report data for June 2012 include information
on the amount and number of outstanding loans.
The report examines all reporting commercial banks,
thrifts, savings and loan associations, and federal
savings institutions. The reported data are available
only by the size of the loan, not by the size of the
business, so small business loans are defined as business
loans under $1 million; macro business loans
are defined as loans between $100,000 and $1 million;
and micro business loans are defined as loans
under $100,000. To evaluate the developments in the
lending activities of these institutions, several variables
from the Call Reports are analyzed. Because of
the changing number of lending institutions required
to file CRA reports, year-to-year changes in these
institutions’ activities are more difficult to interpret
than they are for the Call Reports.
Depository lenders with total domestic assets of
more than $10 billion are ranked and reported separately,
on the assumption that they serve a national
market. Lenders are ranked by state for all reporting
lenders on the basis of the designated headquarters
of the reporting lending institution. Four criteria are
used as the basis for a lender’s performance ranking:
the ratio of small business loans to total loans,
the ratio of small business loans to the institution’s
total assets, the total dollar value of small business
loans made by the institution, and the total number
of small business loans. The analysis of state lending
was based on CRA data; lenders are listed in order
of the dollar amount of small business loans made in
each state in 2011 in descending order. Simple rankings
are used for multi-billion-dollar lending institutions,
because only a small number of lenders are
This report was peer-reviewed consistent
with Advocacy’s data quality guidelines. More
information on this process can be obtained by
contacting the Director of Economic Research at
email@example.com or (202) 205-6533.
This report is available on the Office of Advocacy’s
website at www.sba.gov/advocacy/7540. To receive
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releases, regulatory communications, publications,
and the latest issue of The Small Business Advocate
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This Small Business Research Summary summarizes a
research report published by the U.S. Small Business
Administration’s Office of Advocacy. The opinions and
recommendations of the author of the study do not
necessarily reflect the official policies of the SBA
or other agencies of the U.S. government.