For the first time since it was created in 2011, the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index showed big banks, small banks, credit unions and alternative lenders experienced lower approval rates in November.
The New York-based Biz2Credit, which pairs small business owners with financial institutions, said it culled data from its monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications.
Credit union approvals of small business loans dropped for a sixth consecutive month at Biz2Credit, down to 48.4% from 49.2% in October, the firm said.
While small business lending approvals at credit unions were on the rise during the first five months of 2012, their approval rates have dropped in each of the past six months.
After granting more than 50% of small business loan requests in October, small banks, which are defined as having less than $10 billion in assets, experienced a dip in approval rates from 50.1% in October to 49.2% in November, the company said.
However, when making a year-to-year comparison, Biz2Credit said small banks approved a higher percentage of loan requests in November 2012 than in November 2011, when the rate was 47%.
Alternative lenders such as accounts receivable financers, merchant cash advance lenders, community development financial institutions and micro lenders also slowed slightly, according to Biz2Credit.
In November 2012, alternative lending approval rates dropped to 64.5%, down from 64.7% the previous month, the data showed. The figure represents the first drop in alternative lending approvals in more than four months.
“Hurricane Sandy left much of the northeast devastated and forced small business owners to put future expansion plans on hold,” said Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit co-founder and CEO. “Shifted priorities have contributed to this decrease in loan approvals.
The specter of the fiscal cliff has caused some uncertainty in the credit markets, which in turn has led to more scrutinized loan approvals, Arora noted.
“Lenders may be less inclined to approve requested loans due to the looming tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to start in 2013, which is cause for concern in the economy overall,” he said.