Netherlands: Tight funding for a minority
An above EU average number of SMEs do not require funding beyond their own sources; the smaller number that do are facing above EU average difficulty in getting bank loans.
Pity the SME sector in the Netherlands. By some measures, it’s harder to lay your hands on a bank loan if you’re a Dutch SME than it is for Greek smaller companies. According to the European Central Bank’s latest survey, the success of bank loan applications across the eurozone increased between April and September in all countries bar the Netherlands, France and Italy. The number of SMEs reporting "fully successful" applications was 87% in Germany and 81% in Finland, but was an unsettlingly low 32% in the Netherlands – compared with 33% in Greece.
Leontine Treur, economist at Rabobank, says she was surprised by the ECB data on Dutch SME loan applications. But she also argues that these figures need to be interpreted with caution. She points out that 50% of Dutch SME respondents to the ECB survey indicated that they did not need to apply for funding because they had sufficient own funds, which is above the EU average. "Nevertheless," she says, "for 19% of Dutch SMEs funding conditions are tight, which is higher than the average of 12%."
It is clear that relative to their counterparts in a number of other eurozone economies, access to funding for SMEs in the Netherlands is more troublesome than it ought to be, given the pedigree and sophistication of the Dutch financial services industry.