Report on the results of the survey on the access to finance of SMEs in the euro area – October 2011 to March 2012

27 April 2012

The European Central Bank (ECB) is publishing today its sixth report on the results of the “Survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the euro area”. This survey round was conducted between 29 February and 29 March 2012, covering a sample of 7,511 firms in the euro area. The report provides evidence mainly on the change in the financial situation, financing needs and access to financing of SMEs in the euro area, compared with large firms, during the preceding six months (i.e. from October 2011 to March 2012). In addition, it provides an overview of developments in SME access to finance across euro area countries.

According to the survey results, euro area SMEs’ external financing needs increased between October 2011 and March 2012. At the same time, the survey results show that access to bank loans continued to deteriorate; on balance, firms reported a worsening in the availability of bank loans (20%, up from 14% in the previous survey round). Moreover, the survey results point to somewhat higher rejection rates when applying for a loan (13%, up from 10%). Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents reporting access to finance as their main problem remained broadly unchanged (17%, compared with 16%).

The survey was developed together with the European Commission. A joint ECB/European Commission survey round is conducted every two years. This round was organised exclusively by the ECB, which repeats a part of the survey every six months in order to assess the latest developments in financing conditions for firms in the euro area.

The report on the survey results can be found on the ECB’s website at in the Statistics section under Monetary and financial statistics / Surveys / Access to finance of SMEs, along with detailed statistical tables with additional breakdowns.

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