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Big Banks' Small-Business Lending Promises

John Tozzi

They said they would increase credit to small businesses in 2010. Here's a look at how some of the biggest fared in the first quarter.

Are banks lending more to small businesses? It's hard to say. What's called "small business lending" cuts across several business lines at most banks, from real estate to credit cards, and few lenders report separate figures for small businesses. Still, late last year, under pressure from the White House to increase credit to Main Street, several of the nation's largest lenders—including Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM)—made big promises to expand small business lending in 2010. We asked four that set concrete targets to boost small business lending in 2010 how well they met those goals in the first quarter—two appear to be making progress; figures aren't available yet on the others.

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