According to the FDIC, small business lending is down, but only because businesses aren't asking for loans.
The FDIC reported that 43 percent of businesses hadn't sought loans last year, mostly saying they didn't feel confident enough in the economy to invest in their own businesses. Now with consumer confidence and spending on the rise, small business loans may be a good way to get ready for the forecast upsurge in demand. Reuters released March's figures recently, which showed the highest level of market confidence since last year with projections of stability and growth as more jobs were created and average income started to rise.
While SBA loans may have artificially inflated the lending market last year with fee waivers and guaranteed loan programs, some incentives aimed at business lending are still in place. Banks are also saying they're looking to lend. Online loan marketplaces like Boefly can match businesses with these new opportunities.
Bank confidence and stability may also be thanks to repayment of their own loans; the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported last month that more than half of all banks initially involved in the government's bailout programs have completely paid back those funds. Those who've yet to pay back were substantially weaker.