Survey: PPP loans boost small-business satisfaction with banks

SMALL BUSINESSES’ SATISFACTION with their banks reached record highs in 2021, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates. The survey also ranked the top banks by region, with Chase Bank placing first in the Northeast. / COURTESY J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES

PROVIDENCE – Small businesses are happier than ever with their banks, thanks in part to how their local lenders helped them with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

Results of the 2021 U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study show small businesses’ appreciation for their banks reached record-high levels this year, with the PPP experience boosting satisfaction ratings significantly.

Businesses surveyed who applied for the forgivable payroll relief loans with their primary bank submitted average satisfaction scores 32 points higher than those who did not apply for a loan, based on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale. Among businesses who had completed the PPP loan forgiveness process, average satisfaction ratings were 48 points higher than those who did not apply for a loan at all, the survey found.

National banks fared better than regional banks, with overall small-business satisfaction scores 13 points higher for national lenders than their regional competitors. Survey-takers who went to national banks for PPP loans also reported the forgiveness process was easier than those who went to regional lenders.

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Despite record-high satisfaction levels, small businesses continue to struggle, with just over half reporting they are financially stable and have adequate access to capital and credit. Another quarter each said they were financially stressed or financially vulnerable, with 28% naming the pandemic as having an ongoing effect on their business.

The survey also named the top banks in business satisfaction scores by region. In the Northeast, Chase Bank was ranked No. 1 with a score of 839 out of 1,000. Bank of America Corp. and T.D. Bank tied for No. 2 with a score of 830. Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank was No. 4 with a score of 821, 1 point below the regional average of 822.

The survey reflects responses from 7,327 small-business owners that use business banking services.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. Contact her at Lavin@pbn.com.

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