PRESS RELEASE

ECB publishes the results of a survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises

21 September 2009

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing a report on the results of a new survey on firms’ access to finance. The survey was conducted in cooperation with the European Commission between 17 June and 23 July 2009 and covered 6,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large firms in the euro area. It provides data on financing conditions for SMEs in comparison with those for large firms in the first half of 2009. The report published today contains the results of the first wave of this survey. Given that this is the first time the survey has been conducted, the results should be interpreted with caution.

Of the SMEs that had applied for bank loans in the first half of 2009, 77% reported that they had received all or part of the amount requested, while 12% reported that their application had been rejected. Regarding the respondents’ assessment of changes in access to bank loans, a net percentage of 33% of SMEs in the euro area reported a deterioration. When asked about the main reasons for their assessment, a sizeable net percentage of euro area SMEs (54% of respondents) highlighted the deterioration in the economic outlook and increases in non-interest rate costs (33%) and in collateral requirements (32%).

Looking ahead to the following six months, in mid-2009 the majority of SMEs expected their ability to obtain financing to remain broadly unchanged. At the same time, the proportion of SMEs that expected the availability of financing to deteriorate was slightly larger than the proportion expecting an improvement.

The ECB will repeat part of this survey every six months in order to assess the latest developments in the financing conditions for firms in the euro area. A more comprehensive survey will be conducted every two years, in cooperation with the European Commission.

The report on the results of the survey for the euro area can be found on the ECB’s website, along with detailed statistical tables with additional breakdowns. A corresponding report for the European Union can be found on the website of the European Commission.

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