A fractured, polarized credit market is splitting America’s companies into the recovering and the desperate, the Wall Street Journal reports. For the mostly big companies with easy access to credit, the recovery is in full swing, but for the mostly small companies that can’t borrow, things seem as desperate as ever. “There is a bifurcation of the market,” says one banker. The real sign of a turnaround will be when lower-credit companies can get loans.
Panera Bread, for example, is flush with cash and devoid of debt, so it can demand cut-rate leases and expand hiring. “For us, this is the best of times,” says its CEO. But for its franchisees it’s the worst of times—one man who owns 47 restaurants says his loan rates have gone up a full percentage point. “Banks are not throwing money at us.”