Small-business borrowing rose modestly in July

NEW YORK Tue Sep 4, 2012 6:30am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lending to small U.S. businesses edged up in July, but the size of the increase was too modest to signal that there was much momentum to the economy, a report showed on Tuesday.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the overall volume of financing to small American companies, rose to 103.8 from 100.5 in June, PayNet said.

Borrowing was up 15 percent from a year earlier.

"It doesn't really signal as much strength in a composite view as you would think," said PayNet founder Bill Phelan.

"We're still seeing these very halting numbers, and we're not seeing just a strong indicator of growth."

Separate PayNet data showed more companies were under financial stress. Accounts overdue by 30 days or more rose for the first time since January 2010, to 1.20 percent of the total from 1.16 percent the previous month.

Longer-term delinquency rates eased, however. Accounts behind 90 days or more, or in severe delinquency, dipped to 0.26 percent from 0.29 percent.

Accounts behind 180 days or more, which are considered in default and unlikely to be paid, fell to 0.32 percent from 0.38 percent.

PayNet collects real-time loan information, such as originations and delinquencies, from more than 250 leading U.S. lenders.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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