Small and Medium Enterprises represent more than 99 per cent of all European non-financial companies. They depend on banks for 70 per cent of their external financing.
Record low interest rates and greater availability of loans thanks to ECB support have improved the situation for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Eurozone,
Their need for extra bank financing has fallen from 6 per cent of GDP in 2015, to 3 per cent of GDP in 2019 - equivalent to 400 billion Euros.
ECB support has pushed up loan supply, mainly in core countries such as Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The biggest gap between SMEs’ bank loan demand and supply are in the Netherlands (22% of GDP), Belgium (14%), France (9%) and Italy (4%).
At the same time, the highest increases in bank loan supply were seen in France (+78%), the Netherlands (+38%) and Germany (+34%).
This is a sign that banks in these countries are in good shape.
SMEs in Greece are still strongly affected by the lack of access to finance: one quarter of them says it is their most important problem.
Also, Italy, Ireland, and France have the second and third largest share of SMEs reporting lack of access as their main concern.