Access to bank finance for UK SMEs in the wake of the recent financial crisis

Marc Cowling, Weixi Liu, Ning Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we use empirical evidence from the UK to consider how entrepreneurs demand for external finance changed as the economy continued to be mired in its third and fourth years of recession and whether or not external finance has become more difficult to access as the recession progressed. We find that older firms and those with a higher risk rating, and a record of financial delinquency, were more likely to have a demand for external finance. The opposite was true for women led businesses and firms with positive profits. In general finance was more readily available to older firms throughout the recession but banks were very unwilling to advance money to firms with a high risk rating or a record of any financial delinquency. We find that a maximum of 42,000 smaller firms were denied credit November 2011, which was significantly lower than the peak of 119,000 reported by Cowling, Liu and Ledger (2012) for the UK in the winter of 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-932
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Banks
  • Finance
  • Financial Risk
  • Small firms.


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