As central bankers prepare to descend on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for their annual monetary policy summit this week, the state of lending in the U.S. may very well come up. And why shouldn't it? According to a new report, the banks they helped to recapitalize during the Great Recession aren't lending as much as they should to small business owners.

Time and again we hear that the nation's 28 million small businesses are the heart of the U.S. economy and drivers of job creation. But as The Wall Street Journal reports today, small business lending is still far below pre-2008 levels.

Even as alternative lenders rush in to fill the void for small business lending with quickly approved working capital for less than $100,000, banks need to do a better job.

Here are details from the Journal:

  • At the end of the first quarter, 2014, banks held $585 billion in commercial loans to small businesses.
  • That's an increase of 1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
  • But it's still 18 percent below the $711 billion held by banks in 2008.

As Inc. reported in July, small loans appear to be a vanishing breed. The number of loans valued at $1 million or less is down 14 percent, to 23.5 million since 2008, according to FDIC data.

Meanwhile, loans to businesses of all sizes increased 9 percent, to $2.5 trillion, since the beginning of the recession. Small banks appear to be doing a better job at increasing their commercial and industrial loan volume compared to larger banks, the Journal reports. As of July, such loans increased 11 percent compared with the same month a year earlier, according to Moody's Analytics.