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Business Optimism Not Translated into Increased Loan Demand

February 9 – During the month of President Trump’s inauguration, confidence in the U.S. economy reached the highest levels in five years among small businesses and middle-market companies, reports Barlow Research.

According to Barlow Research’s Economic Pulse Survey conducted in the first quarter of 2017, small businesses ($100K-<$10MM) and middle market companies ($10MM-<$500MM) have grown increasingly optimistic about their overall financial condition and the U.S. economy. While many businesses are expecting a prosperous 2017, demand for additional credit will remain limited.

Small businesses and middle market companies are expecting increased sales and profits, which has also led to expectations for increased cash reserves. With businesses being increasingly flush with cash, demand for additional credit has remained relatively stagnant.

“Small businesses and middle market companies are looking confident at the beginning of 2017. It’s encouraging to see such positive metrics, but we don’t expect this to translate into higher credit demand in the near future,” said John Barlow, President, Barlow Research.

The Economic Pulse Survey is a quarterly survey established in 2009 to track business recovery from the Great Recession and determine credit demand. The first quarter 2017 survey explores business confidence, credit appetite and outlook following the 2016 election.

Below are some important results:

  • 72% of small businesses and 68% of middle market companies felt more optimistic after the 2016 elections.
  • Need for bank loans, particularly among small businesses, has continued to trend down.
  • Credit approvals increased among the small businesses that have applied for additional credit.

About Barlow Research Associates, Inc.
Barlow Research Associates, Inc. was founded in 1980 to provide research to the financial services industry. With a focus on the business banking segments, Barlow Research provides custom and syndicated solutions to the market research needs of small, medium, and large banks and FinTech providers.

For more information about Barlow Research’s Economic Pulse Report, and to learn how to add your proprietary question to our next quarterly survey, contact Barlow Research Associates, Inc. (763) 253-1800 or

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