The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

The Nordics: A market apart

Financing for SMEs in the Nordic region is readily available and growing, driven by well-capitalized and domestic-focused banks. Capital-market funding solutions are growing as well.

Lucky Swedish SMEs. Talk to any of the leading Swedish banks and they will insist that access to funding is not something that keeps the region’s smaller and medium-sized companies awake at night. That, they say, is in part a legacy of the Swedish banking crisis of the early 1990s, which meant that the country’s banks were much better equipped to manage the recent downturn than many of their competitors elsewhere in Europe.

"We learned our lessons in the 1990s," says Elisabeth Olin, Nordea’s head of retail banking in Sweden. "Of course the cost of capital has increased in recent years, but there is plenty of lending capacity for short, as well as longer, tenors for Swedish SME borrowers. The SME sector accounts for 99% of companies in Sweden, for 60% of added value and 60% of the private-sector workforce, so it is extremely important for the Swedish banks."

Other Nordic lenders echo her view. "Because we went through our crisis so early, we strengthened our balance sheets and became capital-efficient long before many other European banks," says Cecilia Qvist, head of retail, large corporates and institutions at Swedbank in Stockholm. "Basle III has not been a restraint for us, so I think it is fair to say this has given Nordic SMEs a competitive advantage."

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree