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Part of objective 1 of the capital markets union (CMU) action plan, action 5 aims to direct SMEs to alternative providers of funding.

Bank referral scheme

In the 2020 CMU action plan the Commission committed to analysing by Q4 2021 the merits and feasibility of setting up a referral scheme to require banks (and other providers of funding) to direct small and medium enterprises whose funding application they have turned down to providers of alternative funding. The objective of this scheme, if implemented, will be to facilitate SMEs’ access to a wider set of funding options, including alternative funding options.

A call for feedback was launched in March with the aim of gathering evidence and feedback from stakeholders on whether there is potential for a referral scheme to help SMEs whose funding applications have been rejected by a finance provider. The call for feedback also aimed at collecting feedback on options for the scope, features and governance of such a possible scheme.

The results of the call for feedback are feeding into the feasibility assessment which is currently being prepared, and which looks into several possible policy options for an EU SME referral scheme. The report presenting the conclusions of the feasibility assessment is due for publication in Q1 2022.

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