While banks have been derided in recent months for cutting off lending trends and allotting credit to only the most high-growth small businesses, overall satisfaction in the sector appears to have improved. The most recent Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power and Associates shows U.S. small businesses grew slightly more satisfied with their overall banking experience. The index - which measures product offerings, account management, facilities, account information, problem resolution, credit services, fees and account activities - increased to 717 this year, up from 711 in 2010. "Contrary to popular belief that most customers are unhappy with their bank, small business banking customers are more satisfied than last year across nearly all aspects of the banking experience," said Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates. Beird added that the availability of credit has improved, suggesting greater stability and perhaps even a return to normalcy within the small business banking sector. However, other groups, such as Gallup chief economist Dennis Jacobe, have maintained that small firms are in urgent need of credit.