Still in the shadow of the economic crisis of 2008, many small businesses have struggled to get back on their feet and, as a result, must adjust a number of operations that existed pre-recession. One such example is money borrowing, which has steadily declined in the small business sector in the last four years.
According to a report from the Small Business Administration, the number of small loans - less than $1 million - to businesses dropped by 4.7 percent in 2011. Small business loans are down 25 percent from their pre-crisis peak in the early months of 2008. While other aspects of the economy have improved in recent years, it appears that small business loans are still sinking, and analysts are offering their own conclusions as to why this is the case.
Scott Shane, a contributor for Bloomberg Businessweek, wrote in an August 1 article that the CARD Act may be halting small business borrowing.
"Another factor behind the most recent decline may be the CARD Act, which went into effect in February 2010 and has led small business owners to shift from business to consumer credit cards," Shane wrote. "The new law protects consumers from some of the banks' less desirable credit-card practices."
Under the CARD Act, banks are reducing fees and are increasing their transparency for consumer credit accounts. This does not exist for business card accounts, so small business owners are finding it preferable to use personal lines of credit for business expenditures.
Shane explains that this may not necessarily be the only reason why lending has dropped, but he believes that finding a way to improve the card system in the small business sector is essential if they are to regain the losses they experienced in the last four years and reach financial viability. Merchants processing B2B payments should also be cognizant of the latest news on this front so that they can be prepared for any radical shifts in small business payment strategies.
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