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Data point: Small business lending and the Great Recession

This Data Point article uses Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Census data to track the evolution of small business lending before, during and following the Great Recession. Considering the important role that small businesses play in the American economy; this report helps explain their lending experiences during this critical time period. This report looks at lending across county and state geographies and different types of depository institutions. 

This report finds that while there was substantial variation in small business lending growth during the Pre-period (2004–2007), virtually all counties were affected similarly by the Great Recession (2008–2009). Overall, small business lending growth was weak during the Recovery (2010–2017).  For example, in a typical county, by 2017 small business lending had only recovered to roughly half of 2004 levels. In addition, the number of large banks, community banks, credit unions and thrifts has been declining since 2004. In comparison with credit unions, each of the other lender types is relatively more likely to offer small business lending products. However, the proportion of credit unions that offer small business lending products has roughly doubled since 2004 (from 10 percent to 20 percent).

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