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High-level principles for banks’ SME credit apps feedback

High-level principles for banks’ SME credit apps feedback




Bank associations present high level principles for banks' feedback

on SME credit applications

BRUSSELS, 6 June 2017 – ESBG, together with four other European banking associations, today presented a set of high-level principles​, after discussion with the European SME organisations, to promote high quality feedbacks on credit applications enabling SME clients to better understand the reasons for the bank's decision.

The ultimate goal is to contribute to a favourable environment for businesses in Europe by supporting the financing capacity, improving financial knowledge and enhancing access to finance for economically sound projects to ensure that SMEs can continue to grow for the benefit of Europe. 

The high-level principles​​ were formally adopted today. Europe's banking sector, with its pivotal financing role, fully supports and contributes to the EU ambitions for Capital Markets Union, in particular the objective of improving SME access to finance. Banks are keen to help strengthen the ecosystem for growth in Europe by cooperating with all stakeholders.

ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “These principles will be most efficient if they are applied in a way which respects the diversity of the EU banking sector and follows the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity, which are crucial to maintaining a healthy dose of diversity and efficiency in the banking system." 

 The majority of SME applications for credit are successful. In fact, close to 80% requests are met. However, higher rates of growth can be achieved by helping those SMEs which have not been successful to understand better what they can do to obtain financing. ESBG actively supports the initiative of strengthening feedback provided to SMEs when their credit applications do not prove successful, especially in countries where national initiatives to facilitate this dialogue have not yet been fully developed.

Many valuable initiatives for feedback for SMEs already exist at national levels all across Europe. The current initiative builds on these and aims to close the gap in those areas where there is a need.

Mr. De Noose added: “It is now time for the national organisations to take ownership of these principles in their country, and to do so in the most appropriate way." ​

>> See the high-level principles document (.pdf)​

For more information, please contact:


James Pieper on +32 2 211 11 92 or at; or​ 

Dirk Smet on +32 2 211 11 90 or at​                                                                             


​Notes to editors:


Strengthening banks' ability to lend will help the EU economy grow

Bank lending represents the core source of financing during the start and expansion of a small and medium-sized business.​ The European Commission has rightly put growth and jobs at the top of its political agenda. Reaching that goal will hinge on small and medium-sized enterprises. Ideally placed to benefit from this stated goal, SMEs account for 99% of businesses in Europe and employ two-thirds of the private-sector workforce. Savings and retail banks have a special role to play by working with and helping SMEs during all stages of their development – from creation to scale up to maturity.

Savings and retail banks: €500 billion in SME financing

ESBG members provide a half a trillion euros in loans to SMEs in Europe, roughly the value of Sweden's economic gross domestic product. The impact is felt at local and Member State level. For example, the members of the German Savings Banks Association account for 42.6% of the market share amongst SMEs in Germany. In France, ESBG member Groupe BPCE is the top bank for SMEs within the Hexagone, with a 38% penetration rate. In Spain, 60% of small and medium-sized enterprises are ESBG member CECA's customers.

​About ESBG

ESBG brings together nearly 1000 savings and retail banks in 20 European countries that believe in a common identity for European policies. ESBG members represent one of the largest European retail banking networks, comprising one-third of the retail banking market in Europe, with 190 million customers, more than 60,000 outlets, total assets of €7.1 trillion, non-bank deposits of €3.5 trillion, and non-bank loans of €3.7 trillion. ESBG members come together to agree on and promote common positions on relevant regulatory or supervisory matters. Learn more about ESBG at





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SME finance; Capital Markets Union; Capital Markets; European Institutions