Following the greatest election upset in American history, President-elect Donald Trump's victory has sent shock waves across politics and business. A political outsider entering the race, Trump is a wild card, and there is much uncertainty with how his policies will impact domestic and global economics.
Josh Zumbrun of the Wall Street Journal wrote that the change of administration could "knock the U.S. economy out of its low-altitude, low-growth orbit," according to Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida. Zumbrun further reported that economists marked up their growth forecasts. Zumbrun also reported that forecasters predict a Trump administration could "boost economic growth, bring higher interest rates and inflation," while also bringing "a new set of potential risks including international trade wars."
Trade has been one of the subjects the billionaire real estate mogul campaigned on and he has pledged to reform current policies such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that have increased regulations and have resulted in no or lower tariffs on goods imported into the U.S. Trump's firm stance against these policies has resulted in a surge in retail stocks that aren't named Amazon.
Despite initial concern on Trump's election, expectations are that the Federal Reserve will vote to increase its interest rates at its next policy meeting on December 13-14. If the Fed does decide to implement an interest rate hike, it will mark the first increase in 12 months. Prior to that, it took seven years for the Fed to increase interest rates.
Small business loan approval rates at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) improved to new all-time post-recession highs in October 2016, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of more than 1,000 loan requests. Big banks are currently approving 23.5% of all small business loan requests, up one-tenth of a percent from September. It marks the seventh time in the last eight months that lending approval rates at this category of lenders has improved. An increase in interest rates will make lending more profitable and spur banks to open the spigot even further.
Moreover, the upcoming year looks promising for this category of lenders as big banks continue to focus on digitizing their platforms and streamlining the loan application process for their borrowers. This winning combination has allowed big banks to process loans quicker and more efficiently as loan default rates are gradually improving.
Meanwhile, small business lending approval rates at small banks remained flat at 48.7% as a year-to-year comparison shows that approval percentages in this category of lenders is down. It has been exactly two years since small banks approved more than half of their loan requests, yet the future is bright. Trump, who has openly expressed opposition to the Dodd-Frank banking regulations, has vowed to dismantle the legislation that he says is holding small banks back.
Although an interest rate hike will mean costlier loans for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it also signals a healthy economy and enables banking to be a more profitable sector. Less regulation and increased profitability offers banks greater incentive to approve loan requests thus providing small businesses with the funds it needs to operate and grow their companies.
With an easing of regulations, but banks and financial institutions are better prepared now than they were before the financial collapse in 2007 due to vast technological improvements. With big data analysis available, default rates are lower than they were a few years ago. Lenders can better predict risk. This is good news for small business owners in search of capital.