Euro area bank lending survey

Euro area results Results by country
Availability on Statistical Data Warehouse
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 YES Eesti Pank website
IE YES YES Central Bank of Ireland website
GR YES YES Bank of Greece website
ES YES YES Banco de España website
FR* YES 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 bank lending survey

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. The BLS provides input to the ECB Governing Council’s assessment of monetary and economic developments, on which it bases its monetary policy decisions.

The BLS complements existing statistics on loans and bank lending rates with information on supply and demand conditions in the euro area credit markets. It provides information on the lending policies of euro area banks. Issues the survey addresses include the credit standards banks apply when approving loans, the terms and conditions of new loans to enterprises and households and an assessment of demand for bank loans.

Frequency and scope of the BLS

The BLS is conducted four times a year. It is addressed to senior loan officers of a representative sample of euro area banks.

The sample group comprises around 140 banks from all euro area countries and takes into account the characteristics of each country’s national banking structures.

To enhance the information content of the survey, a revised BLS questionnaire and compilation guide were published in April 2015.

Questionnaire and glossary

The bank lending survey (BLS) contains 22 standard questions on past and expected credit market developments. Past developments cover the previous three-month period, while expected developments focus on the following three-month period. Overall, the BLS includes 18 backward and 4 forward-looking questions, in order to capture both recent and expected developments. The BLS also provides space for participating banks to give their response to an open-ended question.

In addition, it 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. Loans to households are broken down into loans for house purchase and 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.

Loan supply factors

Loan supply factors addressed by the BLS focus on credit standards and credit terms and conditions, and 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 before the negotiation on the terms and conditions of a loan begins and the loan application is approved or rejected.

Credit terms and conditions refer to the terms and conditions of the loan, once approved, as laid down in the loan contract between the bank (the lender) and the borrower. They include, for instance, the loan margin, collateral required and maturity.

The BLS also includes questions asking banks to assess how specific factors affect the credit standards they apply when approving loans to enterprises and households and how these factors affect the terms and conditions of new loans granted to them.

Loan demand factors

In terms of loan demand and the various factors that may affect it, the BLS focuses on the need of enterprises and households for bank loan financing, irrespective of whether or not a loan is actually 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.

User guide