the centralized system: it is below 20%. “If we consider that generates 80% of the
employment, and that in addition they don’t have access to other instruments of
financing like the larger companies, we realize that the SMEs are underrepresented in
the banking credit”, he adds.
Many of the results of the work of the BCRA revealed facts that were intuited, like that
the irregularity and the unrecoverable of the loans portfolio to small companies are
greater than the one of the loans to large companies; that between the private banks,
those of smaller geographic scope tend to lend relatively more to small companies than
the banks of national range; or that the credit to the SMEs tends to lower during a
But also, the authors of the report count, appeared a few paradoxes, peculiarities and
grey zones. That is to say:
- Perverse incentives: Whereas in the private banks the quality of the SMEs portfolio is
deteriorated as the company becomes smaller, the case of the public organizations is
exactly the opposite. ‘This is an unusual result, different from the international cases
observed, where the loans of the bigger companies are safer, they say in the debtors
Center, ‘and suggests the existence of perverse incentives in the process of lending
between the public banks’.
- Foreignization: The BCRA assures that his work refutes the idea that the
foreignization of the bank has implicit a slant against SMEs. The temporary series
observed on the study of the BCRA shows that the credit to the SMEs does not decrease
as the national banks were being bought by foreign hands.
‘Also, it is a process that didn’t finish, and the tendency can change’, Escudé clarifies.
The foreign banks granted a 42.7% of the credit to SMEs on the mid 2000, 4% more
than two years before, according to the data of the BCRA.
‘It is a typical case in which a priori it is known to what conclusions were wanted to
arrive, and soon the statistics comply to size’, Bleger counterattacks regarding the work
of the BCRA. The economist, who investigated the financing of the small companies
along with the former SMEs secretary Guillermo Rozenwurcel (they share a chair of
Money, Credit and Banks in the University of Buenos Aires), thinks that the process of
concentration and foreignization was in detrimental for the segment of SMEs: ‘it tends
to diminish the proportion of loans in this sector, as a result of the disappearance of
small banks, more specialized in the attention to the small companies’.
Which is the true map of the credit for the small companies in Argentina? As it is seen,
the limits and characteristics vary for each cartographer.
Arrigoni thinks that the reality is in an intermediate earth between the conclusions of the
BCRA and Bleger. ‘The foreignization was neutral, did not improve nor made worse the
thing for the SMEs’, he maintains.
For the man of Deloitte, regarding the greater difficulties of the SMEs financing it is
necessary to look for it in the system failures that prevents that the supply and the
demand are connected. And it mentions examples: ‘the BCRA requests to a SME as
much information to him as to a great North American corporation; the banks have less
agility, by the existing regulations, that a table of money to discount checks, etc, etc’.
This history of love and hatred, according to Arrigoni, also has much of
misunderstandings between both members of the pair. ‘There is an infinity of cultural
prejudices: the small businessmen think that the banks don’t want to lend them, and that
is false’, he says. Escudé agrees: ‘no bank can do without a universe that in Argentina
involves a million companies, that is clear’.
Source: Translated from Campanario S. (2001): ‘¿Quién se Hace Cargo del Crédito
PyME?’, Clarín - Suplemento Económico, Sunday July 22,2001. Available at