Fewer fast-growing firms obtained bank loans in the first quarter, despite plans for major expansions, according to a study by Coopers & Lybrand. Only 32% of the 444 businesses in the study applied for bank loans, compared with 38% in the first quarter of 1996.

High-tech firms indicated more plans for expansion, but were more likely to seek alternative financing from venture capitalists or angel investors.

- Jonathan D. Epstein and Sara Oppenheim

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