Large banks approved more small-business loans in July than they have in any month since before the recession.

Banks with $10 billion of assets or more approved 17.4% of small-business loan applications last month, according to a monthly survey by Biz2Credit, an online loan marketplace. That's the highest rate in the survey's six-year history and up 50% from a year ago.

"The 2012 tax returns have provided the big banks with financial information that indicates many small businesses are doing better now than they were during the past few years," Biz2Credit Chief Executive Rohit Arora said in a press release. "Thus, the banks are more willing to allocate capital for small business loans."

Biz2Credit compiles its numbers by analyzing requests on loans ranging from $25,000 to $3 million.

Credit unions also increased small-business lending in July. They approved 45.1% of small business loan applications, ending a 13-month decline.

Loan approval rates by small banks fell for the second consecutive month, dipping to 49.4%. Alternative lenders approved 63.2% of loan applications, down from 63.4% in June.

Arora told American Banker that increased competition from big banks is driving down loan applications to small banks and alternative lenders.

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