New OECD report says SME lending has hit new heights during the pandemic and small businesses are under new pressure as the economy restarts

03/209/2022 – According to a new OECD report entitled Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2022: OECD Scoreboardoutstanding loans to SMEs increased significantly during the first year of the pandemic. Thus, the median outstanding amount of loans to SMEs increased by 4.9%, the strongest growth recorded since the creation of the OECD Scoreboard 10 years ago.1. This increase is explained by the sharp increase in public loan guarantees (+110% year-on-year in 2020), debt moratoriums, but also direct loans to SMEs (+17% year-on-year in 2020).

Emergency support measures – notably monetary policy interventions by central banks – have also pushed interest rates to historically low levels, the median interest rate on loans to SMEs in the countries covered by the Table edge having lost 0.4 percentage point in 2020, the largest drop since 2009.

In most of the economies studied, unprecedented support measures have averted a wave of bankruptcy filings: indeed, the median number of bankruptcies fell by 11.7% in 2020 in the Scoreboard countries. The combined effect of the gradual lifting of support measures and the pressure that rising energy costs are putting on businesses, it is likely that the number of bankruptcies and insolvency situations will start to rise again. .

The report finds that it is essential that public recovery plans continue to provide targeted support to viable SMEs and entrepreneurs who need it. The war in Ukraine, and the resulting humanitarian and economic crisis, reinforces the importance of aid and access to finance for SMEs and entrepreneurs.

SMEs play a major role in the labor market and have the capacity to fully contribute to the green transition and energy security. According to the report, they need to be able to access a wider range of tools and financing instruments to build their resilience.

Speaking at the official launch of the report, OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said: “ The support measures and favorable loan conditions have led SMEs towards high debt levels that will have to be reduced. In particular, SMEs must have easier access to other financing instruments in order to reduce their dependence on debt and gain flexibility and resilience in times of economic instability.. »

In OECD countries, SMEs account for the majority of jobs and wealth production. Their prosperity depends on our ability to build a strong, lasting and resilient recovery. However, the measures in favor of SMEs included in the national recovery plans are less numerous than the actions targeted at SMEs during the crisis. According to OECD analysis, support to SMEs in the form of loans, grants and payment deferrals accounted for more than USD 3.136 billion (40% of total support) under first-line measures to helping SMEs cope with the immediate consequences of the pandemic, compared to USD 32 billion (4.5% of total support) in stimulus packages.

Find out more about the OECD’s work in relation to the OECD Scoreboard on Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2022.

More information on OECD work on SMEs:

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Shayne MacLachlan,, or the OECD Media Division (

Working with more than 100 countries, the OECD is an international policy forum that works to promote policies designed to preserve individual freedoms and improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

1 Countries reporting data for the purposes of the Scoreboard are: South Africa, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Korea, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, United States United States, Russian Federation, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Netherlands, Peru, Poland , Portugal, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.

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