Could new SME lending policies be bad for start-ups?

Paolo Siciliani.

Since the financial crisis a focus for policy has been to increase the flow of lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): encouraging lending to SMEs is seen as crucial to economic recovery. One of the more recent proposals is to force large banks to share credit data  on their SME customers with rival lenders. The idea is that, by reducing the informational advantage that large banks currently have over their rivals, this could encourage new entrants and growth in SME lending by smaller lenders, which in turn should improve the diversity and hence resilience of the supply of credit to SMEs. However, this post argues that the kind of sharing of SME credit data being envisaged could squeeze lending to SMEs without a credit history.

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