European Central Bank's October lending survey shows tighter credit standards for SMEs in the euro area

The European Central Bank's bank lending survey shows the changed on the credit situation in the euro area. The survey was developed by the Eurosystem to bring a better understanding of the behaviour of bank lending for companies, consumers and households. The last issue of the survey includes for the first time a question regarding the impact of financial turmoil in access to retail and wholesale credit and another one regarding the impact of the sovereign debt crisis on banks’ funding conditions and credit standards.

According to October 2012 European Central Bank bank lending survey, loans granted by euro area banks to companies show an increase in the net tightening of credit standards of 15% in net terms in the third quarter of 2012. Furthermore, general figures show that this tightening has been particularly strong for small and medium sized enterprises than for larger firms – credit net tightening for SMEs increased from 6% in the second quarter to 11% in the third one, while standards for large firms remained at 17%.

Regarding households the report shows a stable level of net credit tightening of credit standards on loans to households for house purchase, which remained at 13%. However, this level of net tightening was already considered high in the previous survey round. The impact of the general economic situation and the housing prospects on credit standards for households remained broadly unchanged decreasing by 1% and reaching 10% and 8% respectively.

Euro area banks reported a decrease in the demand of housing loans as well as in corporate loans in the third quarter of 2012. Evolution of housing market prospects and consumers' confidence levels in the second and third quarter have largely contributed to it. Furthermore, one out of ten euro area banks expect demand for loans for house purchase to decline in the last quarter of 2012.

In the case of credit standards for consumer credit, conditions seem to be less tighten than in the second quarter. Net tightening in consumer credit has decreased by 4% remaining at 3% in the third quarter. Regarding the terms and conditions for these type of loans, surveyed banks reported a slight increase in the margins both for riskier and average consumer loans.