Small and medium sized companies in the euro zone are struggling to get bank funding, with banks increasingly turning down loan applications. The results of a new European Central Bank (ECB) survey 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 study results point to somewhat higher rejection rates when applying for a loan (13%, up from 10%). At the same time Euro area SMEs’ external financing needs increased between October 2011 and March 2012. In contrast, larger firms found it easier to get access to bank loans, seeing only a 4% drop in net terms, compared with 10% two years ago.
The ECB report “Survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the euro area” captured the immediate aftermath of its two major cash injections and covers a sample of 7,511 firms. The study was developed together with the European Commission. A joint ECB/European Commission survey round is conducted every two years.