New data appears to say that the economy is on the mend and that small business owners are reaping the benefits as banks start to lend again. But a closer look suggests that circumstances may not be so rosy, Inc. reported.


"If you are lucky enough to be in the top 10 percent of small businesses, banks will fight to give you loans, but it's not any different than during the recession," says Ami Kassar, founder and chief executive of Multifunding, a small business loan brokerage. Kassar says larger banks are now more aggressively courting the most successful small businesses with the strongest balance sheets and income statements, after years of looking the other way.


Certainly big bank lending appears to be picking up, with the number of approvals for bank loans between $25,000 and $3 million notching up a half a percentage point from June to 17.4 percent, and more than six percentage points from July 2012, according to Biz2Credit, an online loan broker for small businesses that works with 1,100 lenders, including banks.


In July, Biz2Credit counted 3,935 applications for credit, a 23 percent increase over July a year ago. Its match rate to big lenders increased 7 percentage points to 24 percent, while its match rate to smaller lenders increased 7 percentage points to 59 percent. A match rate does not necessarily mean a small business owner will pursue a loan with a particular institution, Rohit Arora, chief executive of Biz2Credit, says.