Capital One Financial is opening an innovation center in San Francisco to speed the addition of technology solutions into its offerings. "We want to really embrace the disruption taking place [in the banking industry] rather than remain in a defensive posture," says Brian Hamilton, head of national small-business banking.
Small-business owners have been successful in tapping multiple sources of lending and managing their payments, writes Steve Lankler of Direct Capital. This activity among such a conservative group of borrowers bodes well for 2014, as does the emergence of small-business alternative finance trends such as new credit models and crowdfunding.
Small-business owners are more optimistic this summer than in recent years, surveys show. Respondents cite an increase in consumer confidence and people's willingness to buy goods. However, economists advise caution, noting that despite positive survey results, demand for capital and small-business expansion remain lower than normal.
Easy monetary policies in mature economies are cited for a positive turn in bank lending conditions for emerging markets, the first plus reading since the second quarter of 2011, according to the Institute of International Finance. The improvement was documented globally but was particularly strong in Asia.