Home Retail banking SME's Loans to businesses: +2.3% year-on-year  


11 april 2015

Loans to businesses: +2.3% year-on-year

French banks are committed to working alongside corporations to finance their needs.


Outstanding loans to businesses stood at 838 billion euros at the end of December 2014, up 2.3% year-on-year. Investment loan outstandings constituted the most dynamic share: 582 billion euros (+2.6%). Short-term loans are up 2.3%(1).

Interest rates remain low. They averaged 2.01% in December 2014, lower than the rates for the eurozone as a whole (3.12%)(2).

SMEs are the primary beneficiaries of bank lending. Loans to SMEs accounted for 45.1% of total loans granted to businesses in December 2014. Total outstanding loans to these businesses was +1.7% year-on-year(3).

Applications for loans by SMEs were very broadly approved with 9 out of 10 SMEs obtaining the investment loans they requested and 8 out of 10 SMEs receiving the short-term loans requested in the last quarter of 2014. However, demand for loans remained low in 2014: only 21% of SMEs sought an investment loan and 6% requested short-term loans(4).


The FBF launched the website, aveclespme.fr, in November 2014 to further strengthen the partnership between directors and officers of SMEs and their banks. Regularly updated with news, special coverage, local initiatives and advice, this practical and instructive website provides business executives and everyone who supports them (professional bodies, chambers of commerce, associations, etc.) with a better understanding of the banking relationship, essential for engaging in effective dialogue based on mutual trust.

On the ground, the emphasis is on dialogue between banks ans VSEs/SMEs

Banks throughout France campaigned strongly to provide financing to SMEs and VSEs. In June 2014, after the publication of the report on funding VSEs by the Observatory for Corporate Financing, member banks of the FBF decided to implement several proposals contained in the report:

  • promptly answering all requests for loans from a VSE customer within 15 business days starting from completion of the application,
  • explaining to the VSE customer why their loan was refused,
  • providing information on available recourse and, in particular, pointing to the existence of the credit mediation service for businesses,
  • developing better information on treasury funding and short-term loans,
  • keeping VSE advisors in their positions for longer periods of time.

The banks appoint contact persons in each networks for the SMEs' professional organisations, at national level, to improve relationships.

The FBF's 105 regional committees participate in numerous local conferences on business start-ups, relationships with SMEs, etc. and regularly meet business executives: 10 regional SME banking conferences brought together more than 1,800 business executives and bankers in 2014.


Sources of adte, march 2015:

(1) Banque de France, Stat Info, Loans to non-financial corporations

(2) European Central Bank, Loans under 1 million euros at variable rate

(3) Banque de France, Stat Info, Loans to corporations

(4) Banque de France, Businesses access to lending

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