Business Lending Figures Now Available on Woodstock’s Data Portal

Data on the number and amount of bank loans made to businesses are now available on Woodstock’s data portal. These data are important because they provide information about small business access to capital, which is a key element to growth and success. Small businesses create economic opportunity within neighborhoods, increase local employment opportunities, and provide residents a means of wealth building through entrepreneurship. Businesses that have access to adequate levels of capital grow more rapidly, hire more workers, and make more investments than businesses that do not have access. Without the availability of bank loans, small businesses often must turn to alternative forms of capital, which can come with high interest rates, onerous terms, and poor customer service.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the business lending data:

Where are the data from?

The data are from reports that financial institutions submit to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). 

Who is required to report data?

All institutions regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that meet asset size thresholds are subject to small business loan data collection requirements.  For 2016, this threshold was $1.226 billion.  Only lenders meeting this asset threshold are required to submit data, though some smaller institutions report data voluntarily.  In 2016, the reported small business lending covered 89.2 percent of the number and 71.4 percent of the amount of all small loans to businesses.   

What is included in the data?

The data represent loans made to businesses in amounts less than $1 million, and the aggregate amount of those loans.  Also included are the number and aggregate amount of those loans that were made to businesses with gross annual revenues of less than $1 million.  The data generally aggregate any extension of credit including traditional loans, lines of credit, and credit cards.  Woodstock’s data portal includes figures for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties and for the City of Chicago’s 77 community areas.

Are there limitations to the data?

The data show only the number and amounts of loans made to businesses.  They do not provide a direct measure of demand for business loans, such as figures on total loan applications, or breakdowns by type of loan or credit received.  The data include only loans of less than $1 million.

What are recent trends for the Chicago region?

In 2016, there were 180,697 reported loans issued in the six-county Chicago region, totaling $7.6 billion dollars. Lending accelerated leading up to the recession, peaking at 379,059 loans and $10.5 billion in 2007.  Figures plummeted in the wake of the recession, reaching their lowest point in 2010 at 119,641 and $6.4 billion.  Since then, lending has slowly rebounded, but remains below pre-recessionary levels. For more information about small business lending trends in Chicago see Woodstock’s report Patterns of Disparity: Small Business Lending in the Chicago and Los Angeles-San Diego Regions.