Bank Involvement with SMEs: Beyond Relationship Lending
14 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2012 Last revised: 3 Jan 2013
Date Written: September 1, 2010
The “conventional wisdom” in academic and policy circles argues that, while large and foreign banks are generally not interested in serving SMEs, small and niche banks have an advantage because they can overcome SME opaqueness through relationship lending. This paper shows that there is a gap between this view and what banks actually do. Banks perceive SMEs as a core and strategic business and seem well-positioned to expand their links with SMEs. The intensification of bank involvement with SMEs in various emerging markets is neither led by small or niche banks nor highly dependent on relationship lending. Moreover, it has not been derailed by the 2007-2009 crisis. Rather, all types of banks are catering to SMEs and large, multiple-service banks have a comparative advantage in offering a wide range of products and services on a large scale, through the use of new technologies, business models, and risk management systems.
Keywords: Small and medium enterprises, bank finance, financial constraints, banking market structure
JEL Classification: G21, G28, L25, O12, O16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation