Capital One Ranks Best for Small Biz

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The 2010 Small Business Bank Study is out and a trio of high-profile banks atop its “consumer best” list made some huge gains in consumer satisfaction in just one year.

The study, released by Power Consulting, comes out at a time when the relationship between small businesses and big banks is as tenuous as ever.

According to another study from the Pepperdine University Private Markets Capital Project, small business growth has been hampered by its limited access to financial capital. Only 40% of U.S. small firms have access to the financial resources they need to grow. And there's more:

  • Lenders and investors reject 90% of loan applications or investment proposals that would be secured by a business’s real estate holdings.
  • They also reject 73% of loan applications or investment proposals that are based on a business’s cash flow.
  • Slightly more than 50% of business owners surveyed had obtained capital from friends and family for money. One-third obtained capital from bank loans.

Given this backdrop, it would seem that the big banks have a heavy load to haul in regaining business owners’ trust. Which banks are doing it? According to the Power study, Capital One (Stock Quote: COF), JP Morgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) and Citizens Bank top the list.

All three banks score 84 possible points out of 100, based on the Power Consulting ratings formula. Citizens Bank made the biggest leap, from 10th place in the 2009 Power study to second place in 2010. Chase did almost as well, jumping from 12th to third place. In the process bigger banks overtook mid-sized banks in this year’s survey of small business banking customer satisfaction (700 respondents were included).

"Last year it was the mid-size regionals that dominated the top categories," says Frank Aloi, president of Power Consulting. "[But] these larger institutions have clearly been focusing on the right things to improve customer experience in the critical small business marketplace."

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