Roundtable “The possibilities for SME growth and missed opportunities for financing?”

June 19th, 2014

The Roundtable was held on 19th June 2014 in the Conference Room of the National Bank of Serbia, organized by USAID Business Enabling Project and CEVES. The objective was to present findings of research carried out by CEVES on opportunities for increased SME credit in Serbia and how to motivate banks and other stakeholders how to adjust their procedures and enhance the financing of SMEs. We wanted to see if current bank practices miss the opportunities of generating additional profit and SME growth.

The participants were the representatives of 11 banks in Serbia, that participated in our research, USAID and CEVES teams. The goal was to present our findings, call for a discussion about the factors that affect on supporting this sector, to overcome these obstacles and find suitable solutions.

The following broad conclusions were drawn from the roundtable:

  • The main obstacles to SME credit growth are the size of the SME market, certain characteristics of the SMEs themselves, and the regulatory environment.
  • More SME-friendly banking practices could be utilized provided that there is a business case for their implementation.
  • According to bank representatives, many SMEs could greatly benefit from increased financial literacy and financial and accounting bookkeeping.
  • Banks noted that they had various degrees of ‘independence’ in tailoring policies determined by parent banks to the local market.
  • Truly bankable SMEs with promising track records generally do not face obstacles to obtaining credit.
  • The establishment of regional centers and NBFIs would be beneficial in promoting SME finance

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