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The proportion of unsuccessful loan applications by SMEs has risen with the economic crisis

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The economic crisis has made it more difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access banking credit. The proportion of unsuccessful loan applications rose between 2007 and 2010 in 19 of the 20 Member States for which data are available.

The largest increases in unsuccessful loan applications were observed in Bulgaria (from 3% in 2007 to 36% in 2010), Ireland (from 1% to 27%) and Latvia (from 4% to 26%). Unsuccessful applications fell only in Sweden (from 9% to 6%).

In 2010, the highest percentages of unsuccessful applications were found in Bulgaria (36%), Ireland (27%), Latvia (26%), the Netherlands (23%), Lithuania and the United Kingdom (both 21%), and the lowest in Finland (0.2%), Malta (2%), Cyprus and Poland (both 4%) and Italy (5%).

Largest decreases in success rates recorded in Bulgaria, Ireland, Denmark and Lithuania

Excluding unsuccessful requests, applications can be split between those which are (fully) successful and those which are partially successful, granted under less favourable conditions than initially requested.

The percentage of successful loan applications by SMEs was lower in 2010 than in 2007 in all Member States for which data are available, and the proportion of only partially successful2 loan applications increased in all Member States. The largest decreases in the success rate were recorded in Bulgaria (from 87% of all loan applications in 2007 to 43% in 2010), Ireland (from 97% to 53%), Denmark (from 92% to 60%), Lithuania (from 89% to 58%), Greece (from 88% to 60%) and Spain (from 87% to 59%). Falls of less than 10% were recorded in Finland (from 98% to 96%), Malta (from 94% to 91%), Sweden (from 84% to 78%), Poland (from 92% to 85%), Italy (from 87% to 78%), Belgium (from 92% to 83%) and Germany (from 85% to 76%).

In 2010, the success rate for loan applications by SMEs was highest in Finland (96%), Malta (91%), Poland (85%), France and Belgium (both 83%), while the highest shares for partially successful applications were recorded in Greece (30%), Spain (28%), Bulgaria and Denmark (both 22%).

These data are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, and are based on a survey covering 25 000 businesses across the EU, also including information on fast-growing enterprises, the future financing needs of SMEs and perceived factors limiting business growth in the future. These data are released in connection with the European SME week 20114 which takes place on 3-9 October in 37 European countries.

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