A recent study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has shown that some small business owners have found ways to access enough financing to meet their business needs. In terms of outcomes for firms seeking credit, the study found that slightly more than a third of the businesses sampled (34 percent) received all the credit they applied for, while only one-fifth (or 20 percent) obtained no financing whatsoever despite efforts to secure the credit. Around 16 percent received most of the credit sought, while 24 percent received some of that credit. Rounding out the survey, a mere 6 percent “didn’t know.”

Of those small business owners who were able to obtain credit, most had the least amount of difficulty securing credit line renewals and credit cards (70 percent and 74 percent respectively). On the other hand, new lines of credit and loans were much more difficult to secure, with 46 percent of the firms surveyed being rejected for credit lines and 35 percent for small business loans. Overall, these numbers were boosted by the fact that 9 percent of prospective borrowers rejected the offered new line of credit and 18 percent rejected the offered loan due to adverse terms and conditions.

The NFIB study found that, aside from relevant financial variables, there were several factors that helped determine how successful a small business owner would be in acquiring the credit they sought. Those who were less successful were typically located in states with worse residential real estate markets and/or rural areas and small towns, relied on a large bank as their primary financial institution, held credit card balances of more than $10,000, and ran smaller businesses overall.

This study relied on data collected from a 2011 survey of 850 small business owners drawn from Dun and Bradstreet credit files and intended to represent a broad sampling of small businesses across the country.


Dennis, William J, Jr. “Small Business, Credit Access, and a Lingering Recession.” NFIB Research Foundation. January 2012. (4/21/12.) http://www.nfib.com/Portals/0/PDF/AllUsers/research/studies/small-business-credit-study-nfib-2012.pdf.

Shane, Scott. “Some Small Business Owners Still Getting Credit.” Forbes. 4/17/12. (4/21/12.) http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottshane/2012/04/17/what-explains-small-business-success-at-getting-credit/.

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