Women Business Owners Expect Better Business Conditions in Six Months Ahead

Jun 15, 2011

A new survey suggests that women business owners are more optimistic about the economy than they were six months ago. This news comes at the same time the NFIB's Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.3 points in May to 90.9, marking the third monthly decline in a row. Although not as optimistic as a year ago, Bloomberg Businessweek reports today almost half of the 164 respondents to the April Key4Women Confidence Index expected better business conditions in the six months ahead.

The recovery “has not been like any recovery I’ve ever seen,” Maria Coyne, head of Business Banking for Key, told me. Cleveland-based Key, with $90 billion in assets, is one of the nation’s 25 largest banks and has a footprint in 14 states. Coyne says small businesses are most concerned about high energy and commodity costs and health care. In some cases they’re passing rising costs along to customers. They’re also struggling to manage cash flow as customers take longer to pay.

Coyne says that demand for small business loans is increasing and “virtually every component of underwriting” has improved, including companies’ cash flow, collateral values, and personal credit scores. She says the inflection point where loan demand began to recover was around the beginning of 2011. Key is seeing the most loan applications since the middle of 2008, before Lehman Brothers’ collapse precipitated the financial crisis. “Demand is definitely increasing,” Coyne says.

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