According to the Small Business Act (SBA) Fact Sheets, Finland is the EU's top performer in access to finance. While SMEs in many other EU countries struggle to obtain finance, especially in the form of bank loans, Finland's SMEs appear to be largely unaffected by such problems. In terms of access to credit, Finland continues to score well on all indicators except for the relative difference in interest rate levels between loans above EUR 1 million and loans below that threshold. Finland performs best on the willingness of banks to provide loans: only 1% of SMEs reported a deterioration in banks' attitudes in this regard, the best score of all EU Member States. Finland has also made inroads as regards the cost of credit for small firms (SME-sized credits). The mark-up for smaller loans in 2011 was higher in Finland than in the EU as a whole (30% compared to 24%); this year, the mark-up fell to 19%, which is practically on par with the EU average. Payment delays remained relatively short - only 23 days compared to the EU average of 53 days - and so did payment losses - only 1.9% of total turnover (EU: 2.9%). Both factors had a positive effect on the cash-flow situation of SMEs. Access to venture capital is also above average, while the indicators describing the basic regulatory characteristics of the financial market, such as the legal rights of creditors and depth of credit information, show a more mixed and rather average picture overall.
A number of policy measures have been taken recently to improve the situation in this policy area in Finland. In February 2011, the Finnish government and the Export Credit Agency decided to award EUR 700 million in investment loans for 2011. The financial problems of SMEs in particular are larger than before the economic recession, so this type of financing is needed as a complement to the financial markets.
New conditions for financing firms due to economic recession were introduced in February 2011. On 3 February 2011, the public-owned credit agency (Finnvera) extended the maximum loan time from six to ten years, improving the financing prospects for SMEs in particular.
On 21 December 2011, the government agreed to extend Finnvera's counter-cyclical financing by one year (to the end of 2012) on account of the weakening economic climate in 2012.
Research, articles etc
|Key indicators on access to finance|
Source: Chart compiled using ECB data
Note: Loan volumes and interest rate data for 2012 are to the period September 2012 only (due to data availability as at November 2012).
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Source: Chart compiled using EVCA data
Download data [191 KB]
|Business angels finance|
Source: Chart compiled using EBAN data
Download data [97 KB]
Appendix: ACTIONS SUPPORTING ACCESS TO FINANCE FOR SMEs (PDF) [279 KB]