As anyone who follows my posts knows, I am a big fan of using data to draw pictures of what’s happening with small business. While this post probably won’t surprise anyone any small business owner who needs credit, it illustrates how difficult it has become to get credit over the past five quarters.
Below is a graph I generated from data in the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s quarterly indicators. The numbers are the net small firm commercial and industrial lending standards. This figure is calculated from a survey of senior loan officers and is the percentage of lenders whose standards were eased minus those whose standards were tightened. That is, big negative numbers mean a lot of tightening.
I’ll be interested to see the first quarter of 2009 numbers to see if the trend toward tightening reverses. I’m hopeful, but not optimistic about that one.