This week, Nouriel Roubini has been making a similar point in 'A Tale of Two American Economies'. To quote: "The story of the U.S. is, indeed, one of two economies. There is a smaller one that is slowly recovering and a larger one that is still in a deep and persistent downturn...Prime borrowers with good credit scores and investment-grade firms are not experiencing a credit crunch at this point, as the former have access to mortgages and consumer credit while the latter have access to bond and equity markets. But non-prime borrowers – about one-third of U.S. households – do not have much access to mortgages and credit cards. They live from paycheque to paycheque – often a shrinking paycheque, owing to the decline in hourly wages and hours worked. And the credit crunch for non-investment-grade firms and smaller firms, which rely mostly on access to bank loans rather than capital markets, is still severe. Or consider bankruptcies and defaults by households and firms. Larger firms – even those with large debt problems – can refinance their excessive liabilities in or out of court, but an unprecedented number of small businesses are going bankrupt...Consider also what is happening to private consumption and retail sales. Recent monthly figures suggest a rise in retail sales. But, because the official statistics capture mostly sales by larger retailers and exclude the fall by hundreds of thousands of smaller stores and businesses that have failed, consumption looks better than it really is."
A lot of small businesses also rely on small banks for loan financing, however, these small and regional banks themselves remain in a more challenging environment than the larger banks as the growing number of failing banks suggests. Furthermore, also the large banks do not lend to small businesses. To quote this article 'Small business loans: $10billion evaporates':"The 22 banks that got the most help from the Treasury's bailout programs cut their small business loan balances by a collective $10.5 billion over the past six months, according to a government report released Monday. Three of the 22 banks make no small business loans at all. Of the remaining 19 banks, 15 have reduced their small business loan balance since April, when the Treasury department began requiring the biggest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding to report monthly on their small business lending. Over the six months that the reporting requirement has been in effect, the banks have cut their collective small business lending by 4%. Their cumulative balance stood at $258.7 billion as of Sept. 30, according to a Treasury Department report. The bank with the biggest lending drop was Wells Fargo, which cut its loan balances by $3 billion. However, Wells Fargo also remains by far the biggest small business lender, with $73.8 billion lent out to small companies. No other bank comes close to that tally. Some banks are unapologetic about their cutbacks. Small business defaults are soaring, and banks are under pressure to shore up their balance sheets and reduce their exposure to risky loans. Two key small business lenders, CIT Group and Advanta, filed for bankruptcy this month."