Forget what all the pundits say about the cost and availability of credit. We’ve got the scoop straight from the horse’s mouth.
Each quarter the Federal Reserve publishes a stack of data from banks all over the country on how they’re really handling their business customers.
That kind of intel can be critical now, both to make sure your company isn’t getting a bad deal and to give you an edge going forward with your financial institution.
Here’s how banks say they’ve been treating their commercial customers over the past three months –- and what they plan to do going forward. How does it compare with your recent experiences?
Benchmark 1: Loan standards
If your bank is expecting you to jump through more hoops to secure new or additional financing, you’re far from alone.
A whopping 85% of domestic banks say they’ve tightened their lending standards to their commercial customers in the third quarter. That’s an enormous spike from the 60% who were doing so during 2Q08.
If you’re a small business, you’ll probably also feel the tightening: 75% of banks say they’re being tougher on small business customers, too.
Benchmark 2: The cost of credit
Despite reports that not everyone’s being asked to pay more for bank credit, you’ll be in a very small minority if you aren’t.
A whopping 95% of banks said they’ve increased the cost of credit lines to mid-sized and large firms; 90% are doing the same to the smaller companies on their customer lists.
Benchmark 3: The spread of loan rates
Here’s another area where you should expect some newly conservative behavior from your bank: the spread of loan rates over your bank’s costs of funds. Nearly all business customers will see an increase here and 95% of small firms will have loans spread on them. That’s up from the 80% that did in the summer.
Benchmark 4: The maximum size of credit lines
Your company may not be able to secure as much money as it had in the past –- even six months ago.
A full 69% of banks have shrunk the top-out point of their credit lines for their customers with annual sales of $50 million or more. And 60% of your peers pulling in less than that are also finding smaller credit lines available to them.
Benchmark 5: The maximum maturity for loans or credit lines
That smaller amount of credit will likely be spread over a shorter window of time, too.
Nearly two-thirds of banks (62%) are tightening up on the maximum maturity of loans and credit lines for bigger firms; more than half of smaller firms (55%) will face the same fate.