Breaking Records: Utah’s Small Business Lending

Business loans serve as essential financial tools for startups, budding entrepreneurs, and established enterprises. These funds, primarily sourced from banks, credit unions, and online lenders, come with varying interest rates, repayment schemes, and eligibility criteria.

Small business loans can be harnessed for a plethora of purposes—be it procuring advanced equipment, broadening operational scope, recruiting fresh talent, or consolidating existing debts.

Whether you’re a niche enterprise looking to broaden its horizons or a large entity aiming for consistent financial health, business loans can be pivotal in achieving your objectives.

Statistics on Small Business Finances

Small enterprises form the structural foundation of various sectors and local communities. However, recent insights indicate they confront considerable financial hurdles.

As per the insights from the Small Business Credit Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Banks, an alarming 59% of small enterprises described their financial status as either mediocre or weak.

These figures have witnessed a notable uptick in recent times. In 2021, a significant 85% of small enterprises encountered monetary challenges—an escalation of nearly 20 percentage points from 2019 figures.

Such data underscores the persistent financial hardships endured by small establishments.

Furthermore, a mere 42% of these enterprises fulfill their financial requirements, pointing to a pronounced void in financial provisions for this demographic.

Predominantly, these enterprises anchor their trust in either a major or minor banking institution for financial services. This predominant dependence on banks may stem from a limited awareness of alternate financing avenues like niche lenders or angel financiers.

Trends in Small Enterprise Lending

As per the latest dossier from the Federal Reserve, the mean loan quantum for small enterprises stands around $663,000. Notwithstanding the accessibility of financial resources, the faction of entities opting for conventional financing has witnessed a dip in recent times.

Back in 2019, about 43% of small establishments sought a loan, a figure which receded to 37% the subsequent year. Merely 34% of small enterprises solicited a loan in 2021.

The underpinnings for this ebbing interest in orthodox financing remain nebulous. However, it suggests gravitation toward innovative financing routes, encompassing crowdfunding, peer-driven lending, and fintech interfaces.

Although orthodox financial channels have observed dwindling preference among fund-seeking enterprises, the application journey has concurrently intensified.

Just 31% managed to secure the entirety of the funds they aspired for in 2021, a stark contrast to the 51% in 2019.  In general, there’s been a regression in the proportion of aspirants securing the full quantum of solicited funds.

On a brighter note, the proportion of unsettled financial obligations to small enterprises has receded from 80% in 2020 to 74% in 2021, with the bulk of them holding debts of $100,000 or below.

Thus, in the face of adversities, businesses are innovatively circumventing financial challenges and adeptly overseeing their liabilities.

Why You Should Consider Applying for a Business Loan

Two professionals shaking hands beside a desk with a laptop and documents.

A recent analysis delved into the primary reasons business proprietors sought external financial aid. Participants in the study could earmark up to three primary motivators.

The analysis unveiled that a substantial fraction of business operators procured loans primarily for enterprise augmentation, with 42.4% earmarking this rationale among their foremost trifecta. Securing equipment clinched the subsequent position, being chosen by 29.4% of the participants.

Meanwhile, investment in promotional endeavors constituted 28.6% of the borrowed funds’ allocation.

Opting for a business franchise was another driving force, attracting 27.6% of the assent, narrowly surpassed by commercial property investments or refurbishments at 26.8% and corporate takeovers at 25.4%. Additional predominant drivers encompassed:

  • Stockpile acquisitions (24.2%);
  • Day-to-day operational liquidity (22.4%);
  • Remuneration-related expenses (21.8%);
  • Liabilities streamlining or refinance (18.6%).

Such revelations amplify our comprehension of business proprietors’ strategic objectives when they venture to enhance and metamorphose their ventures. These insights can be invaluable for financiers and stakeholders keen on fine-tuning their understanding of their client base.

When Can You Expect to Use Your Business Loan?

For visionary entrepreneurs, securing financing is merely a fragment of the puzzle. The judicious and timely deployment of these resources is pivotal. A predominant chunk of business proprietors exhausted their recently procured loan amounts within half a year.

To delve deeper, the research ascertained that 21% of participants expended their funds over a span of five to six months, 19% within a three to four month window, and 16% in a brisk one to two months. Intriguingly, a mere 5% claimed to have utilized their funds within a month’s duration.

A decline in these statistics is perceptible post the seven to eight-month interval, with a mere 13% indicating resource exhaustion during this timeframe. An even sparser 4% reported a gestation period surpassing a year for their fund utilization.

A large hand with coins to a storefront while two figures gesture towards the coins.

SBA Loan Approval Status Across States

Recent insights from the Federal Reserve underscore a diminishing inclination among small enterprises toward conventional financing avenues. Analytical data suggests that the proportion of these enterprises exploring conventional financing receded from 43% in 2019 to 37% in 2020, further descending to 34% in 2021.

What’s noteworthy is the reduced propensity of these applicants to secure the entirety of the funds they solicited.

From the pool of financing aspirants, those securing the full quantum of requested funds dwindled from 51% in 2019 to a mere 36% in 2020, and this figure further shrunk to 31% by 2021.

Distinctively, enterprises helmed by individuals from diverse backgrounds, entities with a lean workforce, and those operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors confronted steeper challenges in securing complete financing.

Recent trends highlight that the predominant financiers for these enterprises are major and minor banking institutions, catering to 43% and 36% of the enterprises, respectively.  Yet, there’s been a discernible uptick in the count of enterprises gravitating towards digital lending platforms.

The year 2021 witnessed 23% of the total small enterprise loan applicants pivoting to digital financiers, marking an ascent from 20% in the preceding year.

In contrast, finance firms attracted applications from 17% of enterprises, credit cooperatives garnered interest from 8%, and a scant 3% engaged with community-focused financial entities (CDFIs).

RankState5-year Average20182019202020212022
9North Carolina$628,654$274,053$383,632$771,301$948,761$765,522


Utah’s small business financing realm has exhibited a dynamic evolution, with noteworthy surges and retreats over the years.

The state, particularly in 2007, saw a remarkable upswing in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, greatly benefiting women, minorities, and veterans—a testament to the state’s flourishing economic environment.

Despite the overarching financial challenges small enterprises grapple with, as depicted by Federal Reserve data, there remains a resilient spirit within Utah’s business community.

Established banking entities like Zions Bank have not only contributed to the economic surge but have also tailored their services to address diverse entrepreneurial needs.

The growth trajectory and adaptability showcased by Utah’s small business sector underscore its potential and the integral role it plays in the broader economic tapestry of the nation.