Small Business Lending Trends

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 3rd Quarter, 2022

    Thursday, January 12, 2023

    The metrics for Q3 2022 are closer to pre-pandemic levels, although external factors during the periods are much different. This return to pre-COVID performance could signify a return to a more normal environment, or possible stress, with increasing delinquency rates, coupled with increasing utilization rates. Small businesses remain in a unique financial environment with consistent rate increases to combat inflation. This may have had an effect on the type of funding small businesses have sought in 2022.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 2nd Quarter, 2022

    Wednesday, October 5, 2022

    The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) and Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) today released the Q2 2022 Small Business Lending Trends analysis, examining key credit information for America’s small businesses. Notably, the report found that small businesses are willing to become more leveraged, driven largely by elevated inflation rates and the expiration of pandemic-related governmental assistance. 

    Key Findings

    • Delinquency rates slightly decreased, specifically for card and loan accounts, continuing a downward trend seen over the past six quarters. 
    • Credit utilization increased to the highest level since the pandemic began. 
    • Charge-off rates increased slightly but remain below pre-pandemic levels. Unsecured account types have leveled-off after higher losses experienced during the pandemic.
    • New account growth slowed during Q2 after almost 15 months of steady increases.

    Why This Matters

    • The small business ecosystem remains stable with several metrics showing continued movement towards pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, historic inflation and ongoing economic uncertainty has clearly influenced the lending decisions of small businesses.  

    A full copy of the analysis is available HERE.

    The CBA-SBFE Small Business Lending Trends analysis offers quarterly data on delinquencies, credit utilization and credit utilization by account type, and charge-off rates. In addition to the data, the analysis offers a brief breakdown of each data set.

    The data used to compile the analysis includes information collected from SBFE members on small businesses and their payment performance on commercial credit accounts.


  • Small Business Lending Trends - 1st Quarter, 2022

    Wednesday, July 6, 2022

    As 2022 begins, trends remain fairly stable despite the significant tumult affecting the small business ecosystem. Delinquency continues to trend lower than normal with funding sources such as PPP still having a moderating effect. In addition, higher than normal new account growth appears to be keeping delinquencies low. SBFE would still expect to see delinquency percentages rise later in 2022 as the impact of PPP and other programs continue to wane along with the effects of factors such as inflation and wage pressures continue to build. Charge-offs continued to decline overall in Q1 with some uptick in select account types. Losses continue to be below pre-pandemic levels.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 4th Quarter, 2021

    Tuesday, April 5, 2022

    The report found even as traditional metrics slowly return to a more “normal state,” supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and historic levels of inflation continue to negatively impact an already restrained small business ecosystem. Key findings from the analysis, which examined data from Q4 2021, include: Delinquency increased slightly for most account types in the most recent quarter, credit utilization continued to increase slightly from the low point in March 2021, but remains far below pre-pandemic levels, charge-off rates declined for all account types in the quarter. Specifically, unsecured account types have leveled off after higher losses seen at the height of the pandemic.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 3rd Quarter, 2021

    Tuesday, January 11, 2022

    The report found that even as new credit accounts increased slightly from the previous quarter, small businesses continued to be cautious and constrained in light of pandemic-related economic headwinds. Key findings from the analysis, which examined data from Q3 2021, include: Delinquency remained largely unchanged from Q2 2021, credit utilization remained very stable, continuing a trend seen over the last several reporting periods. Overall growth in utilization remained minimal and far below pre-pandemic levels, charge-off rates declined in Q3 2021 for all account types except open-ended loans. Unsecured account types have leveled off after higher losses seen at the height of the pandemic.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 2nd Quarter, 2021

    Monday, October 25, 2021

    Key findings from the analysis, which examined data from Q2 2021, include: Delinquency continued to decline for all account types in Q2 2021 and is at its lowest point in the analyzed period for all account types, utilization increased slightly from Q1 2021 due to greater utilization on commercial cards, which have seen an uptick in balance even as limits have remained consistent. Q2 2021 marked the first increase in utilization since the start of the pandemic, charge-off rates declined in Q2 2021 for all account types except term loans, whose losses have been at a higher-than-normal level of the last two quarters.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 1st Quarter, 2021

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021

    Over the past 12+ months, starting late in Q1 2020, there have been significant changes in small businesses’ need for funding and how they have been able to satisfy those needs. These factors resulting from impacts of the COVID pandemic, uncertain economic conditions, and various financial assistance programs caused credit trends to change during the last 3 quarters of 2020. The changes in both direction and scale would not have been expected based on trends in periods prior to the pandemic.   

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 4th Quarter, 2020

    Thursday, December 31, 2020

    In the fourth quarter of 2020, the impacts of the pandemic continued to weigh on the small business community . The liquidity infusion provided by Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other assistance programs continued to stabilize certain measurements as the year ended. However, as the initial round of PPP funding ended in the 3rd quarter, key delinquency metrics began to rise. These signs of stress on the industry may be short lived as the second round of PPP funding begins early in 2021 and other assistance efforts begin rolling out in the same time period.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 3rd Quarter, 2020

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020

    The third quarter has shown some interesting trends as government assistance programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) stopped dispersing new funds. While changes during Q3 2020 appear positive in nature, some of these numbers may still be supported by liquidity infusion provided by PPP and other programs as well as assistance measures offered by lending organizations to borrowers. The fourth quarter and early 2021 should provide a more clear view of the long-term outlook, but this may be further delayed if additional rounds of assistance are approved.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 2nd Quarter, 2020

    Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    Overall Observations

    In the most recent quarter, we begin to see the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small business lending in the United States. SBFE observes delinquency peaking in early Q2 2020 for most account types, while charge-off figures increased late Q2, specifically for unsecured account types. The data also illustrates possible effects of COVID-19 assistance programs and an influx of dollars as small businesses’ average balances have declined for revolving debt throughout Q2 2020.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 1st Quarter, 2020

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    Overall Observations

    All metrics indicated more movement than previous periods as small businesses began to feel the effect of COVID-19 late in Q1 2020. Delinquency and utilization in particular were stressed which we suspect was due to short term business closures affecting many regions/industries. As the small business community continues in this period of uncertainty, Q2 should provide valuable insight on expectations for how rapid a rebound may be, or if the current climate will be more prolonged.

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 4th Quarter, 2019

    Monday, December 30, 2019

    Overall Observations

    Delinquency and charge-off metrics have remained consistent over the reported 24 month period. However, we have seen noticeable movement with the utilization metrics, specifically decreasing limits and balances. This may signal some tightening by lenders and small business borrowers. This change will need some additional time of observation to determine if a trend is forming or if this was a temporary movement. 

  • Small Business Lending Trends - 3rd Quarter, 2019

    Monday, September 30, 2019

    Overall Observations

    For the 3rd quarter, the data indicates performance again remains steady across the three key metrics over the 24 month period. SBFE Data continues to show that credit utilization remains fairly consistent while both balances and limits are increasing. Delinquencies have maintained a fairly steady rate over the reported period with term loans reaching a low point for the past two years. Charge-offs were almost unchanged over the final two quarters of the period and fairly consistent over the entire reported period.


  • Small Business Lending Trends - 2nd Quarter, 2019

    Friday, June 28, 2019

    Overall Observations

    Our data indicates small business credit performance, on a quarterly basis across three key metrics, continues to remain relatively consistent over the two-year period. Credit utilization has remained fairly level during the period with a slight upward trend over the three months of the second quarter of 2019. In the second quarter, delinquencies reversed the trend of slow increase over the past year falling back below 4% by the end of June. Alongside dropping delinquency rates, charge-offs exhibited a small decrease during the second quarter of 2019, ending slightly above a quarter of a percent in losses.