Small Business Credit Cycle: From Spring to Winter, Part I

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15 September 2017

Assessing the market and stakeholders as the dynamics shift

Key research questions

  • What’s the state of supply and demand in small business credit?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • What is the outlook for the market?


There has been much fintech energy in working capital financing, and for good reason. Businesses often struggle to meet their credit needs and face arduous slow application processes. Enter innovative fintechs and banks to not only improve and accelerate the application process but also embed it into businesses’ workflows.

It has been summer time in the small business credit market. After a harsh winter triggered by the financial crisis and economic downturn, seeds of innovation were sown, and spring bore a new generation of credit providers fertilized by venture capital. But summer is now tapering. Originations have continued their upward trajectory, but the number of companies has started to slip. Fall, a time of harvesting and planning, is just around the corner. Then winter will come.

The tail end of summer is the perfect time to assess the market and its stakeholders. In this report, Celent examines the spring and summer season and discusses how stakeholders can prepare for fall and eventual winter. In addition, we examine the crowded playing field and analyze three categories of credit providers: incumbents, digital giants (Amazon, PayPal, and Square), and fintechs (financial technology companies funded by venture capital).

A companion report, Small Business Credit: Exemplars Along the Value Chain, will spotlight 14 firms.