Access to bank financing for companies 2020Q4

Access to investment loans improved
  • After peaking in the second quarter of 2020, the share of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) requesting new cash credits again shrinked by 5 points to 12% of businesses after a 25 points decrease in the preceding quarter. This level yet remains twice as high as it was during the same quarter in 2019. The share of Very Small Enterprises (VSEs) followed the same pattern reaching 11% of companies, which displays a 3 points loss from the previous quarter, a figure that remains above its long-term average of 6%. Meanwhile, demands for new investment loans kept their previous level both for SMEs (15%) and for VSEs (6%) and remained below their pre-Covid average. Companies' expectations for banks turn down stayed on the fringe; the proportion of companies declaring self-censorship behaviors remained below the 2% threshold.

  • The supply rate of SMEs for cash credits kept its high previous level with 90% of demands granted, which is linked to the implementation of state granted loans (PGEs). Supply rate to investment loans stepped up from 96% to 98% of SMEs obtaining all or most of the requested loans. As for equipment loans, the rate of access rose by 1 point to 92%.

  • Under the effect of the implementation of state guaranteed loans, the supply rate of VSEs for cash credits stayed very high and close to that of SMEs with 87% of granted requests after 88% in the preceding quarter. Access to investment loans sharply improved this quarter, with 93% of VSEs that were fully or almost fully granted their credits. Such a figure marks a historic high since the beginning of the survey in 2014, since this level never exceeded 90%. Regarding equipment loans, the supply rate also increased by 11 points this quarter to reach 95 %.

Share of businesses that have requested and been granted new credits*
Cash credits
(% of businesses)
(% of businesses that have requested a credit)
Investment loans
(% of businesses)
(% of businesses that have requested a credit)
* Not seasonally adjusted data, in %; except for the use of credit lines earlier granted
Source : Banque de France (Statistics, Studies and International General Directorate ) and FCGA
Scope: Enterprises with real decisional autonomy regarding requests for credit; SMEs: 10 - 249 employees; VSEs: 0 - 9 employees

The Banque de France carries out a quarterly survey on the access to bank financing of companies. 4,000 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and 400 mid-tier companies (MTEs) have answered; as well as 2,500 very small companies (VSEs) thanks to a partnership with the
Fédération des Centres de Gestion Agréés (small firms authorised management centers federation).
Additional information
1 - Very small enterprises (VSE: 0 - 9 employees)

provided by FCGA and Banque de France
  • The share of VSEs that have requested new financings decreased by 3 points this quarter for cash credits but remained very high with 11% of businesses that have applied for new cash credits against 6% in the same quarter last year. The demand rate for new investment loans remained at 6% of VSEs.

  • The supply rate for cash credits remained close to the all-time high observed in the last two quarters with 87% of VSEs that were fully of very substantially granted their requests this quarter.

  • The rate of access to investment loans increased by 7 points with 93% of granted requests (fully or over 75%). Concerning equipment loans specifically, the supply rate amounted to 95%, namely 11 points more than in the preceding quarter.
2- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME: 10 - 249 employees)

provided by Banque de France
  • SMEs can apply for credit lines that remain available over the year, most of the time at the beginning of the year, and/or for various types of cash facilities during the year.

    -> The proportion of SMEs applying for credit lines slightly increased and amounted to 39% after 38% in the preceding quarter. These requests were still widely satisfied, at 97%.
    -> 46% of SMEs mobilized credit lines this quarter, namely 2 points less than in Q3 2020, and 15 points less than in Q4 2019.

  • Regarding new loans - excluding the use of available credit lines - :

    -> The proportion of SMEs that have applied for new cash credits decreased at 12% this quarter after 17% in Q3 2020 but was still almost twice as high as in the same quarter last year.

    The rate of access to cash credits for SMEs remained stable and at a high level with 90% of requests that were fully or almost fully granted (this supply rate was of 89% in Q4 2019).

    -> After two consecutive quarters of decline, the share of SMEs that have requested new investment loans stayed equal at 15% of companies, namely 7 points less than in the same quarter last year.

    The supply rate for investment loans slightly improved with 98% of SMEs' requests that were fully or very substantially granted, after 96% in Q3 2020. About equipment loans specifically, the rate of access also got better by 1 point at 92%.

  • 2% of SMEs reported a rise in the total cost of financing, the same level than in the preceding quarter.
3 - Mid-tier enterprises (MTE: 250 - 4 999 employees)
provided by Banque de France
  • 50% of MTEs submitted requests for credit lines after 47% in Q3 2020. 52% of those MTEs whose requests were satisfied drew down available credit lines, against 56% in the last quarter.

  • The share of MTEs that requested new cash credits decreased by 5 points at 10% of businesses that have applied for such credits, which matches the pre-Covid figures. The supply rate (fully or over 75% of the requested loans) decreased by 4 points at 88%.

  • The proportion of MTEs that applied for new investment loans stayed at 21% of businesses that requested such financings this quarter, a share that was still 9 points less than in Q4 2019. The rate of access diminished by 1 point with 98% of MTEs' requests that were fully or almost fully granted. Concerning equipment loans specifically, the supply rate also decreased by 1 point and reached 88%.

  • Only bank financing is considered here. MTEs also access to financing through private debt issuance, which is not covered by this survey.
Next publication: May 2021
More information on time series, calendar, methodology

All statistical time series published by the Banque de France can be accessed on Webstat Banque de France

Publication available under Apple and Android
STAT INFO - 4th quarter 2020.

Access to bank financing of companies

Contact Stat Info

Download the PDF version of this document

Access to bank financing for companies
  • Published on 02/02/2021
  • EN
  • PDF (506.24 KB)
Download (EN)

Published on Tuesday, February 2, 2021