Awards for Excellence 2013: Best SME finance house
Bank of America Merrill Lynch stands out because it provides a level of service to SMEs on an international scale comparable to that traditionally available only to large companies.
Best SME finance house: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Also shortlisted: BNP Paribas
Lending to small and medium-sized enterprises is one of the fundamental roles of a bank. But it is one that deleveraging since the financial crisis has brutally curtailed at some institutions. The re-establishment of credit channels to these corporates has become a political flashpoint in Europe as economic growth stagnates. Growing interest from non-bank lenders in lending to these firms means that banks are under more pressure not only over the volumes that they lend, but in how they service these clients across the board.
In many ways, financing SMEs is a highly domestic business, and identifying a global winner can therefore be a challenge. Bank of America Merrill Lynch was, however, the standout candidate for 2013 in Euromoney’s inaugural global SME finance house category on the strength of its ability to leverage its strong SME relationships worldwide.
Not surprisingly, BAML is a very big lender to mid-sized corporates. Its global commercial banking business has 30,000 clients and subsidiaries within the $50 million to $2 billion turnover range, but 5,699 of these clients have revenues of between $50 million and $250 million, and they are becoming increasingly focused on international expansion.