Matt Gamser

Matthew Gamser is CEO of the SME Finance Forum. He has over 35 years’ experience in private enterprise and financial sector development. He has worked for IFC for 10 years in various positions, including heading the advisory services for the financial sector in East Asia-Pacific (from Hong Kong). Prior to IFC he worked for 25 years in the private sector in management consulting and technology/small scale industry development. He holds A.B. and A.M. degrees from Harvard University, and M.Sc. and D.Phil degrees from Sussex University (UK), where his work focused on the management of technological change.

Khrystyna Kushnir

Khrystyna Kushnir works on knowledge management at the SME Finance Forum. She has over ten years of work experience in private enterprise and financial sector development. Before joining the Forum, Khrystyna worked as an operations analyst at the Development Economics of the World Bank Group. Prior to working for the Group, she was a Research Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe at the Heritage Foundation. Kushnir holds MA in International Economic Relations from the American University and is a Fulbright scholar.

Mohan Chen

Mohan Chen is currently an Operations Analyst with the SME Finance Forum. She graduated from Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, with an M.A. in Arab Studies. Her research interests include Sino-Middle East relations, technology and development in MENA region, and social movements. Mohan graduated from College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, with a double major in Political Science and Computer Science and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Prior to Georgetown, Mohan worked as a research assistant at the Development Research Center of the State Council of China, a journalist at Palestinian News Network in Bethlehem, and a knowledge management analyst at CARE International. She has experience in data analysis and visualization, video/audio editing, and social media outreach. She is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and is proficient in Japanese and Arabic as well. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and traveling.

Member Pulse Survey 2022 – SME Finance in the New Normal

Jun 07, 2022
Member Survey drawing, woman and man pointing to a board with checkmarks

In March 2022, we launched our 10th pulse survey with more targeted questions to understand how our members and their SME clients are adjusting to the new normal. We received responses from 118 member institutions operating in 181 economies. Among the respondents, 83 are lenders and 35 are non-lenders.

Level of Operation

The overall story here is very positive.  Compared to their level of operations in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level, the majority of the respondents report that their operations have recovered in 2022. Twenty-four percent say that their operations have already reached the pre-COVID level, and 48 percent say that their level of operations has already surpassed that in 2019. For respondents whose level of operations is still below 100 percent of the pre-COVID-19 condition, 63 percent expect to recover within the following 12 months.

Digital Transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the digital transformation of the SME finance sector. Some 69 percent of members acknowledge that the crisis has significantly fast-tracked their digital transformation. In this round of pulse survey, 39 percent of respondents say that a high number of their customers and sales originated through digital channels, up from 16 percent a year ago. Interestingly, the share of respondents who reported low or no sales through digital channels decreased from 40 percent to 25 percent.

Compared to 2021 responses, more members have fully digitalized their MSME client operations. For example, 55 percent of members have completed the digital transformation of KYC and onboarding and 66 percent have fully digitalized loan applications, while in 2021 these shares were 18 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Payment services are a segment of MSME client operations that have been fully digitalized by almost all of the respondents, i.e., 86 percent. Additionally, some members digitize document storage and exchange, training and capacity building, and loan guarantee issuance. 

Technological Innovation

Similarly, an increasing number of members have adopted new technologies as part of the digitalization of their processes and services. From 2021 to 2022, the share of survey respondents who adopted cloud computing increased from 51 percent to 60 percent. Seventy-nine percent implemented an application programming interface, up from 73 percent.

Many respondents now partner with fintech firms or are thinking of doing so.  Some 44 percent of members affirmed that they have already done so and 24 percent are considering such a partnership.


Eighty SME lenders participated in the survey and their responses convey a quite positive message regarding SME recovery post-COVID-19.

Fifty-three percent of lenders have reached or surpassed their pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of loan collections. While 34 percent say that their loan collection level is at 75 – 100 percent of their pre-crisis level. And 69 percent of lending institutions report that their loan disbursement level is at 100 percent or greater compared to their pre-crisis level.

For those who are experiencing a decline in lending, the main reasons identified by our members include the cost of funds/increase of interest rates, government liquidity support directed to SMEs, as well as deterioration in portfolio risk profile. Some members are also facing liquidity pressure due to a decline/delay in loan collections and an increase in provisioning and collection expenses.

Credit guarantee schemes have been in the spotlight since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to this survey, 45 percent of lenders are already leveraging their services. And this trend is projected to increase with 39 percent of respondents suggesting that they will use credit guarantees more in support of new loan originations in the following 12 months.

In the next year, some lenders expect challenges in meeting new demands from SMEs. They pointed out various important factors, such as riskier businesses due to economic outlook, lack or higher cost of funding, and higher foreign exchange costs.


The non-lenders are generally optimistic about their operations in the next 6 months. Seventy-one percent expect higher revenue and 17 percent expect about the same revenue. In terms of the number of active customers, 74 percent believe that they will have more customers and 14 percent expect no change. In 2021 Q1, only 66 percent of members believed that their revenue would grow in the next 6 months.

Note: This question was addressed to all members (lenders and non-lenders) in 2021, but in 2022 it was addressed only to non-lenders. Also, in 2021 the question asked about the next quarter, as opposed to the next six months in 2022.


Overall, our members are working towards a sustainable recovery in the new normal fueled by accelerated digitization. What do you make of these data? What questions do you have?  Feel free to reach out and let us know!

Read full report here>