The SMEs access to bank loans continued to deteriorate in the euro area

The European Central Bank published the results of a survey which show that between April and September 2012, the SMEs access to bank loans continued to deteriorate. Moreover, the survey results point to somewhat higher rejection rates when applying for a loan. In addition, the EBRD showed how structural reforms have improved the environment for SMEs in Eastern partner countries.

The results of the seventh report “Survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the euro area” published by the European Central Bank show that between April and September 2012, euro area SMEs reported a somewhat lower net percentage change in external financing needs compared with the previous survey (5%, compared with 8%). At the same time, the survey results show that access to bank loans continued to deteriorate. Between October 2011 and March 2012, the SMEs' access to bank loans also continued to deteriorate. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents reporting access to finance as their main problem remained broadly unchanged (18%, compared with 17%).

On the other hand, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also jointly published a report with the OECD that shows how Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have improved their business environments but further growth and employment will depend on active policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs are an important source of job creation and economic growth in Eastern Partner economies, according to the EBRD. However, the global crisis has hit SMEs in the region hard, restricting bank lending, eroding consumer demand, foreign direct investment, remittances and international capital. The report underscores the need for a more comprehensive approach towards SME development in the region.