Feeling the entrepreneurial itch? This is the best time in years to start a small business with a loan from a big bank, according to a new report from online loan marketplace Biz2Credit.
Banks with $10 billion or more in assets have raised their approval rates for small business loan requests to the highest level since 2011, when Biz2Credit started tracking them. In June 2011 big banks granted a measly 8.9 percent of small loan applications. Last month they approved 22.19 percent.
“These are the best numbers for big bank lending since the recession," Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora said in the report.
Banks had pulled back sharply on small business lending during and after the financial crisis. As a result, startups began turning to alternative lenders and credit unions. Those other sources of funding now have approval rates of 61 percent and 43 percent respectively, but those rates have been steadily declining, making the rebound in bank loans all the more welcome.
Bank approval rates are still well below where they were before the recession — and the Biz2Credit report is based on an analysis of just 1,000 loan applications on the site — but the trend is an encouraging one for the entrepreneurs among us.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”