After an initial trial period started in June 2017, the reform concerning the SME Guarantee Fund will be applied during 2018.
This is what emerged during the conference entitled The Reform of the Guarantee Fund, organized by Assolombarda Confindustria Milano and Monza Brianza.
The data of the Guarantee Fund are absolutely interesting and represent the framework of a public instrument whose usefulness for companies has become consolidated and continues over time.
2017 saw yet another growth, with 120,000 companies financed, for a total of € 17.48 billion, of which approximately € 12.2 billion guaranteed.
What is it?
Essentially a public measure in existence since 2000, thanks to which a part (up to 80%) of a bank loan requested by a company is guaranteed with public resources. This naturally means an easy access to credit, especially for all those subjects who would otherwise struggle to be granted a loan. In fact, the reason for the high number of requests to the Guarantee Fund derive from the economic context of recent years, characterized by the crisis on the one hand and by Basel 2 on the other, which has stiffened the criteria for access to credit, deeply penalizing SMEs.
Data between 2011 and 2016 speak of a drastic decrease in the stock of bank loans, a tightening that has had serious repercussions on the economic recovery.
This was due on one hand by international regulation, Basel 4 in particular - and on the other by the amount of impaired loans held by credit institutions. Much work has been done in this field to facilitate the disposal of NPL, so much so that it has gone from 18% in 2015 to 13% today, however much remains to be done.
In this context, an instrument such as the Guarantee Fund, which allows banks to drastically reduce the risk associated with granting loans, becomes indispensable for economic recovery.
Considering that the instrument proved to be very effective in countering the economic crisis and supporting the recovery, the Reform was necessary to strengthen the initial motivations of the Fund: facilitating access to credit to companies even with high risk but economically sound.
The main objectives of the Reform are therefore:
The extension of the audience of beneficiaries
Greater management efficiency, with provisions commensurate with company risk
Greater margins for attracting regional or community resources for co-financing interventions.
Methods of assessing of access and risk of companies that require access to the Guarantee Fund are also new. In this regard, at the request of the Ministry for Economic Development, Banca del Mezzogiorno has developed a new model for assessing the Fund in place of the model used to date.
Objectives of the new system:
Evaluate the creditworthiness of the beneficiaries in specific manner
Better use of the Fund's resources by identifying provisioning percentages by way of a different risk coefficient based on the riskiness of the subject
Possibility to modulate the percentage of coverage of the Fund according to the riskiness of the beneficiaries.
The result is an improved and more effective criterion for the use of public resources, as well as the introduction of automatisms for assessing.
One thing is certain. Beyond the goodness of the tool, diversifying financial sources is very important. There are alternatives such as the minibonds, the listing on the stock exchange or the Pir, which allow diversification and strengthening of corporate finance.