71 percent of bankers expect small businesses to face “credit gap”

Results of the fourth European Credit Risk Survey, show that a “credit gap” looms for small businesses in 2012. The survey, which queried credit risk management professionals in January and February, found that 71 percent of respondents across 31 European countries said small businesses will find it harder to get credit in 2012.

The survey also found the widest credit gap for small businesses since the survey was launched a year ago. Some 31 percent of respondents say the aggregate amount of credit requested by small businesses will increase, while just 13 percent say the amount of credit extended will increase.

Consumers will also find it harder to get credit in 2012, according to 61 percent of respondents. While a grim economic outlook may be part of the reason, risk professionals clearly pointed a finger at banking regulations. More than three quarters (78 percent) said banking regulations will reduce credit availability; in the UK and Ireland, that percentage grew to a whopping 91 percent, the highest for any region in the survey.

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