A new survey provides an optimistic outlook on small business lending. The survey, conducted by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association, polled 255 risk managers at U.S. banks to gain insight on their projected lending practices. Seventy percent reported that they expect increased demand for small business loans over the next half-year period. More importantly, 52 percent said that the total credit extended to small businesses would rise as well.

This is the most optimistic outlook banking professionals have had in quite some time. It gives small businesses hope that they will soon be able to increase their investing and hiring activities. There have been other signs over the past several months that indicate credit is loosening for small businesses. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy noted that lending increased in the fourth quarter of 2012 for the first time in 10 quarters. Several other surveys back up this claim as well.

For detailed survey results, please visit Bloomberg Businessweek.