Small businesses are critical for employment and economic growth at the local, regional, and national levels, and banks are one of their most important sources of funding. However, there has been a lack of detailed information about banks’ small business lending, which became apparent during the 2007-8 financial crisis and subsequent recovery. To address this important gap in ongoing information about small business lending, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System approved a new voluntary survey of U.S. commercial banks on their small business lending activities (FR 2028D), which will be managed and administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
The Small Business Lending Survey is a quarterly collection of quantitative and qualitative information that will be used to understand credit market conditions for bank lending to small businesses. The survey captures detailed, comprehensive information that is not otherwise available about small business lending and how it changes from quarter to quarter. Specifically, quantitative information is collected on commercial and industrial (C&I) loan amounts, interest rates, maturities, and lending terms for term loans and lines of credit with fixed and variable interest rates, and applications received and approved. In addition, qualitative information is collected on changes in credit standards and terms and loan demand, as well as reasons for those changes.
In addition to collecting this new information, the survey is an improvement over other small business lending data collections that use loan size to define a small business loan, such as the Call Report. In this survey, a small business loan is defined as a loan made to a firm with $5 million or less in annual gross revenue. The authorized panel is 398 domestically chartered commercial banks that is stratified by outstanding small C&I loans.
The survey will provide policymakers and the general public with detailed information on banks’ small business lending activity and terms, with relatively little time lag, and will also provide information on small business access to credit in local communities. Together with other data collections on large business loans, the survey will enable Federal Reserve policymakers to construct a more complete picture of the overall bank lending to businesses.
Survey form and instructions: