Small business bank lending shows tentative signs of recuperating

New figures have revealed that credit conditions for smaller firms have begun to stabilise.

Data from the British Bankers' Association for September revealed that there was no change in the number of loans offered to small businesses compared with the same period a year ago.

This is the first time that the year-on-year credit figures have not slipped since the onset of the recession in 2008.

In September, high street banks provided £564 million of loans to SMEs, the same level of lending as was approved in September 2009.

However, the BBA issued words of warning against an over-optimistic interpretation of the figures.

Although the value of the loans arrested the persistent decline of recent months, the number of loans still showed a fall.

David Dooks, the BBA's statistics director, said: "It's too early from September's data to say things have bottomed out. The number of new loans is more instructive than the value.

"I would be surprised if we saw a significant increase in the number of new loans coming through this year."