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Lending by the country's four largest banks to small businesses tumbled during the crisis and had not recovered by 2013, according to data compiled by Rebel Cole of DePaul University. The banks cite dormant demand for such loans and regulatory pressures that have discouraged risk taking. Bankers say an upswing in business confidence bodes well for lending in 2015, but Cole and other academics say available data suggests access to credit remains tight. A look at each of these banks' small-business lending activities follows, including data Cole aggregated from Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and Community Reinvestment Act filings.
We Would if We Could
Banks might be struggling to make enough small business loans, but that's not due to any lack of desire, according to Jamie Dimon. The JPMorgan Chase CEO has been a vocal critic of banking regulators, who he claims have forced banks to become increasingly risk-averse. "In the old days, you dealt with one regulator. Now it's five or six," Dimon said recently.