Small businesses are getting more love from big banks.

Banks with at least $10 billion of assets approved 14.9% of loans between $250,000 and $3 million in December, up nearly two percentage points from a month earlier and the highest rate in roughly a year, according to an index published Wednesday by Biz2Credit, which connects small and mid-size business borrowers with lenders.

"After a hiccup in November, big banks are coming back strong into the small business lending game," Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit's chief executive, said in a news release. "When we look at how difficult it was to secure capital from large banks a year ago, we can see just how much the lending landscape has improved during all of 2012."

The loan approval rate by small banks rose to 49.8% in December, up from 49.2% in November, while approvals by credit unions slipped for the seventh consecutive month, to 47.6%.

Approvals by Community Development Financial Institutions and other non-bank lenders ticked down in December to 63.8%, compared with 64.5% a month earlier.

"Traditional banks are better at automating the lending process and are showing that they are more willing to make small business loans than they were 12 months ago," Arora added.

The Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index reflects an analysis of roughly 1,000 loan applications each month on Biz2Credit.com.

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