FICO Survey: U.S. Bankers Say Small Business Lending on the Rise

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MINNEAPOLIS—October 9, 2012—In FICO’s quarterly survey of bank risk professionals, bankers expressed optimism that lending for small businesses would accelerate over the next six months. By more than a two-to-one margin, respondents said that both the approval rate for small business loans and the total amount of credit extended to small businesses would increase rather than decrease, and more than half of all respondents predicted the overall supply of small business credit would meet demand.

The survey, conducted for FICO by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA), found continued concern among bank risk professionals about the student debt crisis, and respondents said the supply of new home loans will barely keep pace with demand amidst signs that the housing marketing is beginning to rebound.

Consumer credit: Returning to normalcy
After several years of uncertainty in the consumer credit market, this was the second consecutive quarter in which the FICO survey found that bankers expected delinquency rates on every type of consumer loan except student loans to remain flat or decrease. The percentages of survey respondents who expected delinquency rates to stay at their current levels or go down during the next six months were as follows:

  • Credit cards
  • 67 percent
  • Car loans
  • 76 percent
  • Residential mortgages
  • 76 percent
  • Home equity lines of credit
  • 74 percent
  • Small business loans
  • 73 percent

    However, a majority of respondents (61 percent) expected delinquencies on student loans to increase. This is the fourth consecutive quarter that respondents have predicted a worsening of student loan delinquencies.

    “The concerns about student loans align with research we recently conducted that found, among all Americans with student loan debt, the size of that debt increased by 54 percent between 2005 and 2012,” said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs. “During a time when consumers have been deleveraging, this is startling. It’s hard to see how this trend is sustainable. I suspect rules changes will be needed for the repayment of student loans to help former students get on with their lives without becoming prisoners of their debt.”

    Credit supply expected to expand
    In another hopeful sign, for the second straight quarter, the majority of lenders expected the supply of credit to satisfy demand for all types of consumer loans. The percentages of respondents who expected the supply of consumer credit to meet or exceed demand during the next six months were as follows:

    Car loans 76 percent
    Credit cards 72 percent
    Mortgage refinancing 59 percent
    Student loans 58 percent
    Small business loans 53 percent

    Expectations for new mortgage financing were nearly evenly split, with 51 percent of respondents expecting an adequate credit supply and 49 percent expecting supply to fall short of demand.

    “It looks like the consumer credit markets are now performing pretty well,” said Jennings. “The economy may not be going gangbusters, but credit activity seems to be picking up and lenders appear to have a handle on risk. However, a couple of persistent issues are causing problems for many households and creating a headwind for the broader economy —the tight market for new mortgage lending and the rise in student loan debt, which is weighing down many young adults.”

    A detailed report of FICO’s quarterly survey is available at The survey included responses from 215 risk managers at banks throughout the U.S. in September 2012. FICO and PRMIA extend a special thanks to Columbia Business School’s Center for Decision Sciences for its assistance in analyzing the survey results.

    About PRMIA
    The Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA) is a higher standard for risk professionals, with 65 chapters and more than 85,000 members worldwide. A non-profit, member-led association, PRMIA is dedicated to defining and implementing the best practices of risk management through education, including the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) designation and Associate PRM certificate; webinar, online, classroom and in-house training; events; networking; and online resources. More information can be found at

    About FICO
    FICO (NYSE:FICO) delivers superior predictive analytics solutions that drive smarter decisions. The company’s groundbreaking use of mathematics to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries and revolutionized the way risk is managed and products are marketed. FICO’s innovative solutions include the FICO® Score — the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States — along with industry-leading solutions for managing credit accounts, identifying and minimizing the impact of fraud, and customizing consumer offers with pinpoint accuracy. Most of the world’s top banks, as well as leading insurers, retailers, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, rely on FICO solutions to accelerate growth, control risk, boost profits and meet regulatory and competitive demands. FICO also helps millions of individuals manage their personal credit health through FICO: Make every decision count™.

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    Except for historical information contained herein, the statements contained in this news release that relate to FICO or its business are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the success of the Company’s Decision Management strategy and reengineering plan, the maintenance of its existing relationships and ability to create new relationships with customers and key alliance partners, its ability to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services, its ability to recruit and retain key technical and managerial personnel, competition, regulatory changes applicable to the use of consumer credit and other data, the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions, continuing material adverse developments in global economic conditions, and other risks described from time to time in FICO’s SEC reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2011 and its last quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2012. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes, FICO’s results could differ materially from its expectations. FICO disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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