Industries Banking/Finance

Capital One Bank’s small business survey suggests optimism

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During the first quarter, many U.S. small businesses experienced continued improvement in financial performance, building optimism about the overall economy.  Still, most small business owners polled by Capital One Financial Corp. as part of its Small Business Barometer survey are holding off on hiring or making additional investments.

The McLean-based financial services company released results of its quarterly poll just in time for National Small Business Week, May 16-20. The survey polls small businesses across the nation, gauging their current financial condition and business projections for the next six months.

While they might not be eager to hire, businesses considering growth opportunities said credit availability continues to improve, and fewer small businesses reported cash flow issues.

“We will continue to watch hiring and spending plans carefully in the months to come, nevertheless, it is an encouraging sign that most businesses believe credit and financing is available to them when needed. This will allow small businesses to take advantage of growth opportunities when they are ready,” Pete Appello, executive vice president of small business banking at Capital One, said in statement.

The survey results suggest that U.S. small businesses continue to feel confident that 2011 business performance will be better than it was in 2010, with 61 percent of those surveyed making that response. Additionally, an increased percentage — 43 percent compared to 37 percent a year ago — report that their financial position is stronger than it was one year ago. Plus fewer businesses reported that their finances deteriorated over the same period.

Hiring remains a challenge. Slightly less than one third, or 29 percent, plan to add employees to the payroll over the next six months.  This number is consistent with previous results over the past year.

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