National Small Business Week!

Did you know that this week is National Small Business Week? Ever since 1963, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been hosting NSBW events annually throughout the country, and this week they are being held in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. In the spirit of NSBW, this week our blog will highlight a few recent PolicyMap dataset updates that pertain to small businesses.

One exciting related dataset is the CRA Small Business and Small Farm lending update for 2011. The arrival of this year’s CRA Small Business and Small Farm loan data brought with it some good news for small businesses! On the whole for the nation, the number of small business loans increased approximately 21%, with the aggregate dollar amount increasing by around 10%. At the very bottom of the Lending Activity tab, PolicyMap users can track changes in CRA Small Business and Small Farm lending from 2004-2011.

As seen in the map below, the number of small business loans made to businesses with revenues of $1 million increased considerably in much of the country, including parts of Arkansas and Louisiana (represented on the map by dark purple), while dropping considerably in other neighboring areas, such as parts of Kansas and Nebraska (represented on the map by dark orange).

When analyzing the CRA data, it is important to keep in mind that only institutions with greater than $1 million in assets are required to report, and thus it may understate total lending, particularly in rural areas where top lenders tend to be smaller in asset size. Altogether, in the 2011 reporting period, 859 institutions reported CRA data, representing a 2.4% decrease from 2010. According to the FFIEC, this decrease can be attributed to a number of factors, including mergers and acquisitions among previous reporters, the failure of previous reporters, and fewer voluntary reporters.

For additional information on the FFIEC’s analysis of the 2011 data, see their report: Findings from Analysis of Nationwide Summary Statistics for 2011 Community Reinvestment Act Data Fact Sheet (August 2012).