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Who's Your Daddy? SBA reports on small-business friendly banks

By Paul DeCeglie

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just how friendly is your friendly neighborhood bank? The SBA can tell you. The SBA offers a number of reports that help identify the banks that are most active in making microloans in each state, among them Micro-Business-Friendly Banks in the United States.

The most recent version of this report shows a large jump in the number of microloans-up 19 percent from June 1997 to June 1998. As for actual cash, however, while the number of loans surged, the dollar amount inched upward only 3 percent. Smaller average-sized loans may reflect recent bank promotions of lines of credit and credit cards to small businesses.

Compare that with the whopping 13 percent increase in the number of big-business loans, and you have to ask whether there's an adequate supply of microloans available to small borrowers. There aren't any definitive answers-at least not yet. "In light of the continuing merger boom, we will be watching to see whether the microlending expansion keeps pace with the growth in lending to larger businesses, especially over the longer term," notes the SBA's chief counsel for advocacy, Jere W. Glover.

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