The economy may be on the mend, but midsize and small companies are still having a hard time getting financing. About half of midsize companies say it has been harder to get credit so far this year than it was in the first months of last year, according to a survey conducted by financial services consultancy Greenwich Associates. Among small businesses, the outlook was even bleaker; 55% of them said it was harder to borrow this year.

Companies' finances are not yet in good enough shape to get them past the tighter lending standards banks have put in place over the last couple of years, says Chris McDonnell, a vice president at Greenwich. "Even companies that are making it through the process and borrowing from banks are saying the process was more difficult."

In fact, according the Greenwich survey, 36% of small businesses and 18% of midsize companies say they are accessing capital via their credit cards. "If you are a small, small company and you need cash, the bank isn't going to do it on normal financing terms, you're going to have to pay that extra rate on the credit card and be beholden to those terms and conditions," McDonnell says. He also notes that 61% of the small businesses surveyed say they're borrowing money in order to pay bills or other creditors.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.