What a difference two years make. Remember referred lenders? Today most prefer not to. The preferred lenders of yesterday have either cut way back on small-business lending or stopped such lending programs altogether. Since debt capital is critical to franchise growth, it's important to understand what has happened, how long it will stay this way, and what you should do about it. The dearth of active small-business lenders has little to do with franchising or even small business. To understand this, you need to understand the types of lenders that are out there.