Big banks say they are getting a bad rap when it comes to small-business loans. Wells Fargo says smaller loans were up 27% in the first quarter, and "we are trying to do everything we can to get people who apply for a loan approved." Meanwhile, Bank of America insists that collateral is not its top concern when evaluating small-business finances. "We love collateral, but we are first and foremost cash-flow lenders," a BofA executive said.

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