After a tumultuous election season, can small business owners expect some certainty and stability heading into 2017?

Latest Main Street Report reveals a confident lending market composed of strong balance growth and low delinquency rates that position 2017 as a strong year for small-business credit

Costa Mesa, Calif., Feb. 09, 2017 — While it is still too early to say how the Trump administration will effect small business owners, for now the outlook of lenders and business owners appear to be stable and somewhat optimistic, based on overall credit performance. Experian®, the leading global information services company, and Moody’s Analytics, a leading independent provider of economic forecasting, today announced that while small-business credit utilization rates remain flat from the previous quarter, credit balances expanded broadly and drove down delinquency rates to reveal a healthy lending market.

The latest Experian/Moody’s Analytics Main Street Report reveals a positive finance market based on key factors from Q4 2016, which measure the overall health and well-being of the small-business sector. According to the report, the fourth quarter was defined by an increased willingness to lend, as results show a spike in total loan balance growth: a 7.7 percent increase from the third quarter and a 10.3 percent increase year over year. Despite the balance growth, utilization rates among small businesses remain just under 40 percent, leaving plenty of capacity for small-business owners with current available credit. 

“The overall health of the small-business sector could depend on changing fiscal policies and how those policies will affect the small-business owner,” said Gavin Harding, senior business consultant for Experian. “For example, if the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy faster than anticipated, an interest rate shock could quickly cause balance growth to slow and delinquencies to rise, delivering a jolt to small business and consumption overall.”

In a true testament to the improving economy, two of the hardest-hit industries over the past few years — mining and transportation/utility — are quickly showing signs of improvement. Following OPEC’s announcement of supply cuts in late November of last year, oil prices ticked up, which has had a positive impact on the mining and transportation industries. The fourth quarter showed a sharp decline in delinquencies, falling 43 and 116 basis points, respectively from the previous quarter. 

“The business and credit cycles are in their sweet spots,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “The economy is near full-employment, credit is flowing freely and credit quality is good and improving. Increasingly confident small businesses are willing and able to borrow more to help play their role powering economic growth.”

Other sections in the Q4 2016 report include a detailed analysis of:

  • Small-business risk assessment strategies.
  • Regional perspectives. 
  • Potential impacts from new fiscal and trade policies.
  • Credit quality 
  • A forecasted outlook for the upcoming months.

To get a copy of the latest Experian/Moody’s Analytics Main Street Report, visit

The full results of the report, as well as additional data and insights on small-business health, will be presented in a webinar on March. 14 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern. To register for the event or for more information, visit


Roslyn Whitehurst
Experian Public Relations
1 714 830 5578
Twitter: @RozWhitehurst

Katerina Soumilova
Moody’s Analytics Communications
1 212 553 1177

About the Experian/Moody’s Analytics Main Street Report
Developed by Experian and Moody’s Analytics, the Experian/Moody’s Analytics Main Street Report brings deep insight into the overall financial well-being of the small-business landscape, as well as providing commentary about what certain trends mean for credit grantors and the small-business community as a whole. Key factors comprised by the Main Street Report include a combination of business credit data (credit balances, delinquency rates, utilization rates, etc.) and macroeconomic information (employment rates, income, retail sales, investments, etc.).

About Moody’s Analytics
Moody’s Analytics helps capital markets and risk management professionals worldwide respond to an evolving marketplace with confidence. The company offers unique tools and best practices for measuring and managing risk through expertise and experience in credit analysis, economic research and financial risk management. By providing leading-edge software, advisory services and research, including the proprietary analysis of Moody’s Investors Service, Moody’s Analytics integrates and customizes its offerings to address specific business challenges. Moody’s Analytics is a subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO), which reported revenue of $3.5 billion in 2015, employs approximately 10,900 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 36 countries. Further information is available at

About Experian
Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company.