The approval percentage for small business loan applications at banks with more than $10 billion in assets rebounded from 11.5% in May to 13.5% in June, according to Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

The June figure is still far below the record high rate in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic became widespread. The figures do not reflect approval of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, which are made by the government rather than by the banks themselves.

“Big banks, small banks and all other categories of lenders saw their approval percentages rise in June,” Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit, said. “In the Northeast, the economy is beginning to reopen, and there are hopeful signs. However, we will have to see how the spread of the pandemic impacts the South and West of the country. The coronavirus has made things tough for small businesses everywhere.

“The more than 2% jump was a solid performance for big bank lending. The Jobs Report on July 2 reported that unemployment dropped in June. This is a good sign, but economic fluctuations continue as we begin the second half of 2020.”

The approval rate at small banks climbed to 18.4% in June, up from 16.9% in May. In February 2020, small business loan approvals were at 50.3%.

“Although smaller banks are processing many PPP loan applications, at the same time they are still approving non-PPP requests,” Arora said. “Regional and community banks are playing a big part in the survival of small businesses.”

Through June 30, the PPP lending program has provided more than 4.9 million small businesses with more than $521 billion in potentially forgivable loans, according to a new report by the SBA on PPP loan approvals. The average loan size was $106,772, and 5,460 lenders participated in the program thus far. Congress passed legislation signed by President Trump that extended the filing deadline until Aug. 8, 2020.

Institutional lenders’ approval percentages increased to 21.6% in June, up from 21.4% in May.

“Institutional lenders, like the other categories of lenders, have seen their approval percentages increase steadily in May and June, after disastrous results reported in March and April,” Arora said. “As the economy slowly emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, I believe that institutional lenders will again play a vital role in small business lending.”

Loan approval rates among alternative lenders jumped up to 23.4% in June, an increase over May’s figure of 20.5%.

“Some companies, especially those that are strapped for cash, borrow from alternative lenders because they can get approved for the money quickly,” Arora said.

Credit unions approved 21.35% of loan requests in June, a slight increase from 21.2% in May.

Biz2Credit analyzed loan requests from companies in business for more than two years with credit scores above 680. The results are based on primary data submitted by more than 1,000 small business owners who applied for funding on Biz2Credit’s platform.

Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged more than $3 billion in small business financing.