Approval rates for small business loan applications rose to another post-recession record (27.9%) at big banks (more than $10 billion in assets), while approval percentages also stayed above 50% at small banks in September, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

“Bank lending to small businesses remains strong at big banks and regional and community banks. With the recent Fed announcement that interest rates will drop, I expect business lending will continue to grow for the rest of 2019,” 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.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications in September remained at 50.3%.

“Traditional bank loans and SBA loans are available at smaller banks. Because of the overall strength of the economy, greater numbers of businesses qualify for funding,” Arora explained. “Having approval rates above the 50% mark is indeed a good sign.”

Institutional lenders’ approval rates again rose one-tenth of a percent to 65.9% from August’s figure of 65.8%.

“Institutional lenders are a good source of small business loans and have been for the past several years,” Arora said. “The provide funding at attractive rates and terms.”

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders slipped a 10th of a percent to 56.5% from 56.6% in August.

“Non-bank alternative lenders are a viable funding source for companies whose credit scores do not qualify them for traditional bank loans,” Arora said. “Even as bank lending shows growing strength, alternative lenders are valuable as a funding source to many small business owners – especially ones who have credit scores of 650 or less.

Credit unions’ approval rates fell to 39.7% in September, slipping from the 40% mark in August. The figure is a record low for since Biz2Credit began analyzing business loan approval percentages in 2011.
“Other categories of lenders are all moving to digital applications. I would say that credit unions have lost their way in small business lending in today’s low interest rate environment,” said Arora, who oversees the Biz2Credit research. “Certainly, the Member Business Lending cap (12.25% of their assets) does not help. Meanwhile, banks and institutional lenders are more aggressive in small business lending.

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.

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.