Senior Loan Officer Survey - Fourth Quarter of 2017

Results of the Fourth-Quarter Survey | Vol. 10.4 | January 8, 2018

This Senior Loan Officer Survey (SLOS) focused on changes to business-lending practices in the fourth quarter of 2017. The survey was conducted between November 6 and December 1, 2017.

  • Survey results suggest that overall business-lending conditions eased slightly in the fourth quarter (Chart 1),1 primarily because of easier pricing conditions (that is, lower spreads) on lending to corporate borrowers (Chart 2).2 Non-price conditions were mostly unchanged.
  • This marks the first time that lending conditions have eased since the oil price shock of 2014. Price conditions last changed in the second quarter of 2017, with a slight tightening, while non-price conditions have changed little since easing in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Competition was the main reason cited by respondents for the easing in lending conditions for corporate borrowers this quarter.
  • Lending conditions for small business borrowers were unchanged.
  • From a regional perspective, both price and non-price conditions eased for commercial borrowers in the Prairies as the economic activity related to the natural resource sector continues to increase.
  • Demand for credit increased in the fourth quarter of 2017, after being unchanged in the third quarter.
  • Access to capital markets improved for all risk grades of corporate borrowers.

Chart 1: Overall business-lending conditions

* The balance of opinion is calculated as the weighted percentage of surveyed financial institutions reporting tightened credit conditions minus the weighted percentage reporting eased credit conditions. Thus, a positive balance of opinion implies a net tightening. The chart shows the average of the balances of opinion for the price and non-price dimensions of lending conditions.

Chart 2: Price and non-price lending conditions

* The balance of opinion is calculated as the weighted percentage of surveyed financial institutions reporting tightened credit conditions minus the weighted percentage reporting eased credit conditions.

Note: Each series is the simple average of the balances of opinion for the small business, commercial and corporate sectors.


  1. 1. Note that the balance of opinion suggests only the direction of the net change in lending conditions; it does not provide information on the magnitude of the change.[]
  2. 2. The pricing of credit is defined as spreads over base rates, rather than as the level of rates.[]