Experian/Moody's Analytics report shows declining credit balances and rising delinquencies cause setback for small-business credit conditions in first quarter of 2014

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Experian®, the leading global information services company, today announced that following a full year of steady improvement, small-business credit conditions stumbled during the first three months of 2014. Findings from the report showed that despite significant growth over the past two years, credit balances declined during the first quarter of 2014, dropping 1.2 percent from the previous quarter. According to the Q1 2014 Experian/Moody's Analytics Small Business Credit Index, the setback in credit balances was fueled in part by unusually harsh winter conditions, which also triggered the rise in delinquency rates.

"The improvement in small-business credit conditions paused early this year. However, this should prove temporary, as the broader economy revives from the severe winter weather," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics. "All the preconditions for stronger credit growth and fewer credit problems are in place, including sturdy profits and cash flow, record-low interest rates and low debt service burdens."

[DOWNLOAD]: Q1 2014 Experian/Moody's Analytics Small Business Credit Index

"Given the impact the rough winter season had on small-business revenues, the drop-off in credit balances can almost assuredly be attributed to a combination of larger creditors limiting business-to-business credit transactions and small businesses being more reluctant to take on debt," said Joel Pruis, Experian's senior business consultant. "With that said, as we move further away from the cold, wintry season, we should expect to see the growth rate for credit balances normalize as consumer spending picks up and small businesses feel more comfortable making credit-based purchases."

Additionally, the report showed that the uptick in delinquency rates was seen across all buckets, though the most noticeable rise was in the 60- to 90-day range. This is an indication that small businesses have had trouble paying down balances only recently, as longer-standing debt would have resulted in higher delinquency beyond a two- to three-month window.

From a regional perspective, the gap between the best-performing and the worst-performing states for business health continued to widen. Utah, which has held the top spot among states in every quarter since the end of 2009, has not had its share of past-due balances exceed 2 percent since tracking began. Conversely, Florida, among the worst-performing states, had 11 of its 22 metropolitan areas in the bottom 10 percent of business credit performance.

"The housing collapse certainly had a significant impact on our nation's economy overall, making it difficult for those companies in the hardest-hit areas to stay on top of their business credit performance," continued Pruis. "While the current landscape continues to look gloomy, there is reason for optimism. A recovering housing market and increasing population densities are enabling businesses in those areas to start paying down delinquent debt. We should see the gap between the top and bottom states close in the coming years."

New interactive map shows business credit health at the state and metropolitan-area levels

For a visual representation of how states and metropolitan areas are performing in four key business credit health categories, including risk score, number of days businesses pay their bills past due, delinquency rates and bankruptcy rates, visit the new interactive business information map. The map includes performance during the most recent quarter, year-over-year comparisons and industry-level analysis.

About the Experian/Moody's Analytics Small Business Credit Index 
Experian joined forces with Moody's Analytics, a leading independent provider of economic forecasting, to create a business index and detailed report that provides insight into the health of U.S. businesses. The Experian/Moody's Analytics Small Business Credit Index is reported quarterly to show fluctuations in the market and discuss factors that are impacting the business economy.

About Experian's Business Information Services
Experian's Business Information Services is a leader in providing data and predictive insights to organizations, helping them mitigate risk and improve profitability. The company's business database provides comprehensive, third-party-verified information on 99.9 percent of all U.S. companies. Experian provides market-leading tools that assist clients of all sizes in making real-time decisions, processing new applications, managing customer relationships and collecting on delinquent accounts. For more information about Experian's advanced business-to-business products and services, visit http://www.experian.com/b2b.

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2013, was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Contact: 
Roslyn Whitehurst
Experian Public Relations
1 714 830 5578
roslyn.whitehurst@experian.com 
Twitter: @RozWhitehurst

SOURCE Experian



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