Loans ranging from under $100,000 to $1 million experienced small increases in the fourth quarter, the SBA said Tuesday.
Among the depository lending community, the larger institutions of $1 billion or more helped offset the declines in lending by the smaller lending depository institutions, according to the SBA Quarterly Lending Bulletin.
Small business lending by institutions with assets of $50 billion or more followed the general trend and remained unchanged, the agency’s report said.
“While small businesses are recovering from the economic recession, they continue to face a meek lending environment. Both small and large business lending are only slightly improving, but small business lending has increased for the first time in ten quarters by 0.4%,” the bulletin noted.
According to the latest FDIC Call Report data small business lending increased from $584.1 billion in September 2012 to $586 billion in December 2012.
Meanwhile, the SBA said the economy continues to strengthen due to improving financial conditions and low interest rates, with lenders reporting easing lending standards on both commercial and industrial loans and commercial real estate loans.
Lending terms were loosened for C&I loans, the SBA said. Although lenders also reported increased demand for both types of loans, conditions for CRE loans remained relatively tight.
In fact, overall small business lending continued to be slowed by CRE loans, which have yet to turn upward, the agency noted.