The SBA said that micro commercial and industrial loans accounted for most of the lending growth in the fourth quarter of 2011.
While borrowing remained challenging during the last four months last year, micro loans under $100,000 beat out other dollar amounts, according to the SBA’s March Quarterly Lending Bulletin.
The rate of decline in the dollar value of small business loans under $1 million was much slower, at negative 0.3% in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, compared with a decline of 1.2% in the previous quarter, the SBA said. The value of small business C&I loans increased for the first time in seven quarters.
Small business loans totaled $597.8 billion in the fourth quarter.
The SBA said economic indicators such as gross domestic product and total business lending continued on a slow upward trend. The recovery of small firms has been slow because of their inability to access credit markets, the agency noted.
Depository lending institutions with consolidated assets over $50 billion continued to dominate the small lending market, according to the SBA. Total small business loans outstanding by these increased for the third consecutive quarter, while lending in all other asset size categories declined.