FDIC revives small business lending survey with invitations sent to about 2,000 banks around the country

Banks’ small business lending practices and volumes are the subject of an online survey unveiled Tuesday by the federal insurer of bank deposits and the federal census agency, the two groups said in a release – the first time the survey has been attempted in about six years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the U.S. Census Bureau said invitations to participate in the survey were sent to about 2,000 banks. The survey is sponsored by the FDIC and administered by the census bureau, the agencies said.

They said the survey “provides a comprehensive view of small business lending by banks and will significantly expand the FDIC’s and the public’s understanding of the impact banks have on the nation’s small businesses.”

According to the FDIC, banks are the most common source of external financing for small businesses. However, the agency contended, there is “little high quality data” on the activity. The last small business lending survey (SBLS) was in 2016, the agency said, adding that the 2022 survey aims to fill gaps in the understanding of current bank lending to this vital sector.

The agencies said that the census bureau selected about 2,000 banks, all FDIC-insured institutions with assets of $3 billion or more as well as a random sample of banks with assets of less than $3 billion. Those selected banks are primarily regulated by the FDIC, the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

FDIC to Launch 2022 Small Business Lending Survey