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Small business lending reaching "new normal"

NEW YORK - Banks are making it easier for small businesses to get loans, and they're giving companies better terms and lower interest rates.

That's the conclusion from a survey on small business financing by researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.

Forty-four percent of the small businesses surveyed last month said they received bank loans during the previous three months. That's up from 39 percent in February and 34 percent last fall.

The Pepperdine Private Capital Access Index rose to 27.7 from 27.1 in February. It measures companies' demand for and ease in getting financing, including loans.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. CEO Jeff Stibel says businesses are healthier than a few years ago, so banks are courting them.