Euro area bank lending survey

Euro area results

The results are reported from the perspective of the specific month in which the bank lending survey was conducted, i.e. January, April, July or October.

Results by country
Availability on SDW
Country Diffusion indices Net percentages Link to NCB website publication
BE YES YES National Bank of Belgium website
DE YES YES Deutsche Bundesbank website
EE YES NO Eesti Pank website
IE YES NO Central Bank of Ireland website
GR YES YES Bank of Greece website
ES YES YES Banco de España website
FR* NO YES Banque de France website
IT YES YES Banca d'Italia website
CY YES (from April 2009) YES (from April 2009) Central Bank of Cyprus website
LV YES YES Latvijas Banka website
LT YES YES Lietuvos bankas website
LU YES YES Banque Centrale du Luxembourg website
MT YES YES Central Bank of Malta website
NL YES YES De Nederlandsche Bank website
BLS information in table T5.5
AT YES YES Oesterreichische Nationalbank website
PT YES YES Banco do Portugal website
SI YES YES national BLS results published only on SDW
SK YES (from April 2013) YES (from April 2013) Národná banka Slovenska website
FI NO NO not published

* The results for France, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia available in the SDW are weighted by the share of the outstanding amount of loans issued by each bank in the respective national BLS sample in the total outstanding amount of loans issued by all banks in the national sample.

Description of the survey

Description of the bank lending survey for the euro area

The bank lending survey (BLS) for the euro area was launched in 2003. Its main objective is to enhance the Eurosystem’s knowledge of financing conditions in the euro area in order to provide input into the ECB Governing Council’s assessment of monetary and economic developments, on the basis of which it takes its monetary policy decisions. The survey is designed to complement existing statistics on loans and bank lending rates with information on supply and demand conditions in the euro area credit markets and on the lending policies of euro area banks. It addresses issues such as the credit standards applied when approving loans as well as the terms and conditions of new loans to enterprises and households. It also asks for an assessment of demand for loans to enterprises and households.

In order to enhance the information content of the survey, a revised BLS questionnaire and compilation guide (see also the glossary included in the ECB website report of the BLS results) were published in April 2015.

The survey is addressed to senior loan officers of a representative sample of euro area banks and is conducted four times a year. The sample group participating in the survey comprises around 140 banks from all euro area countries and takes into account the characteristics of their respective national banking structures.

The questionnaire

Since April 2015 the survey has contained 22 standard questions on past and expected credit market developments, building on the 17 standard questions used until the January 2015 survey round. Past developments cover the previous three-month period, while expected developments focus on the following three-month period. In addition, the survey may contain ad hoc questions on specific topics of interest.

The questions are classified according to the two borrower sectors that are the focus of the survey, i.e. enterprises and households, the latter being broken down into (i) loans for house purchase and (ii) consumer credit and other lending. The definitions and classifications used in the survey are consistent with other ECB statistics. For both enterprises, i.e. non-financial corporations, and households, the questionnaire covers loan supply and loan demand factors.

With regard to supply factors, the focus is on credit standards and credit terms and conditions, as well as the various factors that may have caused them to change. Credit standards are the internal guidelines or loan approval criteria of a bank. They are established prior to the negotiation on the terms and conditions of a loan and the actual approval/rejection of a loan application. Credit terms and conditions refer to the conditions of a loan that a bank is willing to grant, i.e. to the terms and conditions of the loan as laid down in the loan contract between the bank (the lender) and the borrower, such as the loan margin, collateral required and maturity. In addition to the questions on credit standards and terms and conditions, banks are asked to assess how specific factors affect the credit standards they apply when approving loans to enterprises and households and how they affect the terms and conditions of new loans to enterprises and households.

In terms of demand factors, the focus is on loan demand and the various factors that may affect it. Loan demand refers to the need of enterprises and households for bank loan financing, irrespective of whether or not this need results in a loan being granted. In addition to the questions on loan demand, banks are asked to assess the impact of various factors related to the financing needs of enterprises and households and the use of alternative means of financing.

Overall, the survey includes 18 backward and 4 forward-looking questions, in order to capture both recent and expected developments.

The survey also provides space for participating banks to give in response to an open-ended question.