Small firms finding it easier to get bank loans
SMALL businesses (SMEs) across Europe are finding it easier to get bank credit, according to a new report.
The latest "survey on access to finance for SMEs in the euro area" by the European Central Bank (ECB) found that, between March and September, 24pc of SMEs reported a worsening in access to bank loans.
That was almost half the figure recorded in the previous survey, when 42pc said they were struggling to get credit. That survey covered October last year to March 2010.
At the same time, 12pc of SMEs reported an improvement in access to bank loans, compared with 10pc in the previous round. According to the ECB, the factors which have an impact on the availability of external financing have improved, especially those concerning the economic outlook.
Overall, euro area SMEs generally reported broadly unchanged needs for external financing during the six months the survey covers, with a net 3pc of firms seeing their needs for bank loans increase in that period, compared with 16pc in the previous survey.
Large firms, which are also covered by the survey as a reference group, said that bank loan application success remained stable at a high level and the overall financial situation showed clear signs of improvement.