Small businesses are finding it difficult to get restaurant loans, despite the high volume of customers. At the end of the first quarter, banks held $585 billion in loans to small businesses. This number is 18% less than that of 2008. For years, local business owners have built relationships with bank executives to help with loan approvals, but this has diminished following bank failures. However, recent signs of a lending uptick by small banks is reassuring to some analysts.