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BofA: D.C.-area women highly optimistic about small business growth

Monday - 5/12/2014, 5:58pm  ET

New surveys of small business owners show general optimism about the economy nationwide, with stronger feelings in Greater Washington than other parts of the country. The reports coincide with National Small Business Week, which includes events in Washington on Thursday and Friday.

Bank of America's 2014 Small Business Owner report shows female small business owners in the area are more optimistic than males about revenues increasing over the coming year, 68 percent to 49 percent, respectively. But men are more inclined to hire new workers by 46 percent to 41 percent.

Forty-three percent of Greater Washington's small business owners have applied for a loan within the past two years, more than any other surveyed markets including New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the Charlotte-based bank. Nearly one quarter (22 percent) said they plan to apply for a loan this year, compared to 14 nationally.

Overall, 58 percent of Washington businesses with revenues of $100,000 to $5 million and two to 99 employees plan to grow their companies over the next five years, Bank of America said.

Earlier this year, McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. found that 80 percent of small business owners in Greater Washington are upbeat about their local economies, compared to 67 percent in other markets.

But the bank also found that only 4 percent of D.C.-area small businesses (defined as annual revenues under $10 million) have applied for a Small Business Administration loan, less than half the 9 percent rate in other areas. Many small business executives complain the process is too complicated, according to the bank's latest quarterly Spark Business barometer.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.