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Access to finance

Access to Finance Surveys

Access to Finance Surveys

This section of the website provides information and statistics on European small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) economic situation and their access to finance. The information provided is based on four surveys carried out in the European Union Member States by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

Survey on the Access to Finance of SMEs

The European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) decided in 2008 to collaborate on a survey on the access to finance of SMEs in the European Union and established the Survey on the Access to Finance of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

The SME Access to Finance survey is conducted every second year in the EU member states, as well as in other countries participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme.

The ECB waves of the survey are published every 6 months and cover only countries in the euro area (see below).

ECB euro area surveys

The ECB euro area surveys sub page presents results of two surveys. Both surveys target the financial situation of SMEs, but from a different angle.

The Bank Lending survey

This survey is conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) and targets the supply-side of the market. Its questions assess how the banks evaluate the access to external sources of finance for SMEs. The survey is addressed to senior loan officers in a representative sample of banks located in the euro area.

The survey is designed to give information on both the development in financing over the last three months and expected changes in the coming three months.

Access to Finance survey

This survey, developed together with the European Commission as described above, measures the views of SMEs’ managers regarding access to finance, including the sources of external funding they rely on, as well as the perceived accessibility of these sources.

The first round for this survey was conducted in 2009. The survey is run by the ECB every six months to assess the latest developments of the financing conditions of firms in the euro area. The results are representative at the euro area level and for the four largest euro area countries: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The six smallest euro area countries, Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia, were not included in the sample. 

Eurostat ad-hoc survey

This survey was directed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 20 countries of the European Union. Survey results make it possible to examine the consequences of the financial crisis by comparing the situation from 2007 to the one from 2010.

The Eurostat survey was conducted in the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. About 25 000 enterprises, each with 10 to 249 persons employed, were part of the survey sample.


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