The Biggest Banks for Small Business

US Bank
US Bank, photo by BMM

RALEIGH, N.C. – American financial institutions are lending more of their loan portfolios to small businesses, whether franchised or not.

According to data from Sageworks Bank Information, outstanding small business loans totaled $12 billion more in 2014 than the previous year, marking the first annual increase since 2010. 2014's small business loans increased 2 percent compared to the 0.5% drop in 2013 and the 4.3% drop in 2012, according to Sageworks.

Top 15 Lenders to Small Business in $, Year Ended 12/31/14
Bank Ttl Small Biz Loans Small Biz loans as % of total loans
Wells Fargo Bank, Ntl Assn $ 34,715,000,000 4.3%
Bank of America, Ntl Assn $ 33,352,000,000 4.4%
JP Morgan Chase Bank, Ntl Assn $ 19,309,000,000 3.5%
US Bank Ntl Assn $ 17,131,904,000 6.8%
Branch Banking & Trust $ 9,162,906,000 7.8%
PNC Bank, Ntl Assn $ 9,072,095,000 4.4%
Citibank, Ntl Assn $ 8,802,000,000 2.5%
Regions Bank $ 6,087,359,000 7.8%
Chase Bank USA, Ntl Assn $ 5,621,863,000 5.7%
Manufacturers & Traders Trust $ 5,575,160,000 8.4%
TD Bank, Ntl Assn $ 4,913,858,000 4.4%
Suntrust Bank $ 4,755,220,000 3.5%
Synovus Bank $ 4,384,835,000 20.7%
First-Citizens Bank & Trust $ 4,166,024,000 29.4%
Bank of the West $ 3,983,982,000 7.8%

Data: Sageworks

"Banks may feel that these [privately-held small business] companies are in a good position to take on debt," said Sageworks analyst James Noe. "You can see that reflected in the increased overall lending volume to small businesses," he said.

Biggest small business lenders as small business loans as a % of total loans
Data: Sageworks

The analyst found that Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were the top lenders when it came to total dollars dished out to small businesses. Because of the massive amount of loans the largest banks grant overall, it is important to pair total loan volume with another, the percentage of small business loans compared to total loans in a bank's portfolio. This metric indicates the relative priority and focus that a bank gives to small business lending compared with other types of lending. Using that filter, Georgia's Synovus bank and North Carolina's First-Citizens Bank stand out as two of the larger banks that dedicate a fairly significant portion of their loan portfolios to small businesses. They have both the total volume and a larger percentage of small business loans.

When it comes to banks that commit their all to small businesses, Farmers State Bank in the flat farm fields of Humphrey, Nebraska topped the list. It allocated nearly 97 percent of its total loan dollars to small businesses last year. Pitney Bowes Bank also stood out, dedicating 95 percent of its loan dollars to small business owners in 2014. That equates to nearly $330 million worth of loans dedicated to small businesses from Pitney alone.

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Banks say no to small businesses most of the time, and those loan %'s are amazingly small.

Response To:

Do you think that businesses generally are in a position to take on more debt now? What are the reasons for some of the "no" 's that you may be aware of? Are there other, alternative forms of financing available?