Some bankers said they are so encouraged by signs that the economy is starting to recover that they plan to increase their small business lending efforts this year.
According to a survey of 409 bankers conducted by research firm Omega Performance, 77% of respondents said they were likely to increase their small business lending activity. For those banks that don’t offer small business products and services, 78% said they were planning to actively pursue offering them.
Bankers said small business activity (78.3%) is the top area that they plan to actively pursue this year, followed by medium and large business (66%), consumer (59%), individual housing (42%), credit cards (32.5%), auto loans (31.6%), multi-family housing (23.1%), construction (14.2%) and other activities (8.0%).
Seventy-nine percent of respondents said the economy will improve over the course of 2012. Still, 57.1% said they don’t plan to make any changes to their credit standards for both commercial and consumer loans this year despite the same percentage saying they expect to do more commercial lending.