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Press Release

Federal Reserve Launches 2021 Small Business Credit Survey

The Federal Reserve’s 2021 Small Business Credit Survey opens for responses September 8. The annual survey focuses on gathering information on how and why small businesses seek financing, an area where data historically have been limited.

This year, the Fed aims to increase survey participation among several groups and sectors, including finance and insurance, healthcare and education, and firms with 1-to-4 employees. By taking the survey, small businesses contribute to data that directly informs the Fed, federal government agencies, service providers, and others—ultimately benefitting business.

The 10-minute survey is open to businesses currently in operation, those recently closed, and those about to launch. The questions ask about business conditions, financing needs, and the effects of the pandemic on business. All responses are confidential. The survey closes November 19, 2021.

More than 15,000 respondents representing firms with 500 or less employees participated in the 2020 SBCS. From their responses, we learned that:

  • Firms experiencing financial difficulty during the pandemic frequently turned to their own personal funds for help, suggesting that credit availability continued to be a problem despite the introduction of emergency programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Sixty-four percent of firms would apply for additional government-provided assistance if it were made available, again suggesting strong demand for emergency credit.
  • Meanwhile, the share of applicant firms that received all the financing they sought declined from 51 percent in 2019 to 37 percent in 2020.

More information is available at

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479