IFC conducted the global SME Banking survey to better understand the challenges and trends SME banking operations experience in serving the small business segment in their countries. More than 110 SME Banking practitioners and leaders from around the world participated in the survey. The online survey launched in 2018 posed questions to understand what the biggest issues SME banking leaders are grappling with and where they see opportunities to run innovative, competitive and sustainable SME banking units.
The survey received responses from 114 SME banking executives serving more than 17.5 million small businesses from the biggest SME banks working at a regional and multinational level.
The results indicate the two biggest challenges SME banks contend with globally are credit risk, with half of the respondents noting this as a top challenge, and external factors, with a third stressing issues such as the macroeconomic environment and government policy changes pose challenges to serving small businesses sustainably. The remaining challenges within the top five cited by respondents are technology adoption, client engagement, and competition.