June 22, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Survey: Businesses More Upbeat About Bank Loans

June 21, 2012 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Many small businesses expect to seek a bank loan this year although signs still point to a weak lending climate.

In a survey of nearly 6,000 businesses by Pepperdine University and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. during the first quarter, nearly a third of the participants said they plan to seek new financing in the next six months.

Of those companies, 68 percent said they're likely to try to borrow from a bank. That was the most popular response and was 28 percentage points ahead of the second most likely source of financing, a company's credit cards.

The survey indicated some growing optimism among business owners. In a survey taken in January, 47 percent said they had been successful in getting a bank loan during the previous six months.

"In many ways, bank loans are a bellwether of the strength of our economy," said John Paglia, an associate professor of finance at Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management, who oversaw the study.

He said that as businesses have more access to traditional sources of money — in particular, bank loans — their owners will rely less on personal funds to run their companies. That, Paglia said, would give them more money for discretionary spending that should help the economy.

Recent studies have shown that bank lending to businesses has weakened this year.

According to the research firm PayNet, one reason is that the uncertain economy has made many businesses reluctant to take on more debt. It also has been harder for many companies to borrow from banks, which have toughened their lending standards following the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession.

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