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Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing, first half of 2019

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Released: 2019-11-14

Value of credit outstanding

$957.7 billion

January 2019

Credit granted to Canadian corporations increases in the first half of 2019

The total value of outstanding credit granted to Canadian corporations at the end of the first half of 2019 was $957.7 billion, up $39.4 billion (+4.3%) from the second half of 2018. Compared with the same period in 2018, total business credit outstanding increased by $80.8 billion.

The Bank of Canada's Senior Loan Officer Survey reported that overall business lending conditions eased slightly in the first half of 2019, primarily due to ongoing competition between lending institutions for corporate borrowers.

Real estate and rental and leasing continues to drive business credit outstanding

In the first half of 2019, the main contributor to total credit outstanding was the real estate and rental and leasing industry, which increased by $11.2 billion (+6.1%), accounting for over one-quarter of the increase in total credit outstanding. Increased demand from the high-tech and finance, insurance and real estate industries, bolstered the growth in total credit outstanding.

The second-largest contributor to total credit outstanding was the wholesale and retail trade industry, which was up by $7.7 billion (+7.6%). These results are consistent with second quarter data from the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, which shows borrowings for this industry increased 11.2% in the first half of 2019 compared with the second half of 2018.

Finance and insurance was the only industry that saw a decline in credit outstanding during the first half of 2019, down $1.2 billion (-1.7%). This marks the first decline in credit outstanding since the second half of 2016. This seems to be in line with the change in the debt composition observed in the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, which shows the finance and insurance industry moving from bank borrowings to bond and debentures.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Change in credit outstanding
Change in credit outstanding

Term credit remains the preferred choice for business financing

Total term credit, which includes term loans and mortgage loans, increased $21.6 billion (+3.8%) to $586.9 billion for the first half of 2019. Term loans make up 61.3% of total credit outstanding.

Domestic banks continue to be the primary provider of term credit ($260.8 billion), followed by credit unions and caisses populaires ($82.0 billion) and other banks, including foreign banks ($78.6 billion).

Operating credit, which includes credit cards and lines of credit, increased $17.9 billion (+5.1%). Major domestic banks drove the increase, up 4.9% from the second half of 2018.

Wholesale and retail trade industry accounts for more than two-thirds of term credit disbursed

Total term credit disbursed during the first half of 2019 was up $2.5 billion (+1.8%) from the second half of 2018, reaching $141.1 billion.

More than two-thirds (69.5%) of the term credit disbursed was due to the wholesale and retail trade industry, rising $1.7 billion (+13.2%) to $14.7 billion.

Term credit disbursed to the professional, scientific and technical services industry increased $0.9 billion (+18.4%) to $5.7 billion. Increased use of technology, ongoing activity in real estate and construction, along with legal and accounting services have been driving the growth in activity for this industry, and therefore their financing needs. For the same period, profits and employment were also up in this industry.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Change in term disbursements
Change in term disbursements

More than half of term lending was disbursed by major domestic banks, accounting for $79.2 billion in the first half of 2019.

The total value of term lending disbursed for an account authorization level of $5 million or more was up $3.8 billion (+3.7%), accounting for the growth in overall term disbursements.


Total business credit in arrears rose $179.0 million (+5.5%) from the second half of 2018 to $3.4 billion in the first half of 2019. The percentage of arrears to total credit outstanding was 0.4%.

Credit accounts with an authorization level of $5 million or more made up the highest proportion of business credit in arrears, and accounted for 74.9% of the total increase.

  Note to readers

Data from the Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing for the second half of 2018 have been revised.

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