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Thomson Reuters/PayNet: Optimism Spurs Small Business Borrowing Surge in October

December 03, 2012, 07:22 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Reuters reported borrowing by small businesses rose in October, according to the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the overall volume of financing to small U.S. companies. The index rose to 107.5 from an upwardly revised 96.4 in September, PayNet said. PayNet had initially reported the September figure as 94.1.

Borrowing was up 11% in October from a year earlier.

PayNet founder Bill Phelan said the rise was likely less a reaction to the Fed's low-rate policy, which has been in place since December 2008, than a sense of growing optimism among smaller firms.

"They are seeing some profit-producing opportunities, and are wading in," Phelan said in an interview. "The odds have shifted toward some optimism for next year."

PayNet's lending index typically correlates to economic growth one or two quarters in the future.

Separate PayNet data showed financial stress at near-record-low levels. Accounts overdue by 30 days fell to 1.2% of the total from 1.21% the previous month, and were near the 1.17 percent record reached earlier this year. Phelan said a "normal" rate of delinquency is 1.5% to 1.6%. Longer-term delinquency rates also eased. Accounts behind 180 days or more, fell to 0.29% from 0.32%. Accounts behind 90 days or more, or in severe delinquency, were unchanged at 0.24 percent.

PayNet collects real-time loan information, such as originations and delinquencies, from more than 250 leading U.S. lenders.

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