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Economy

Greek Small, Medium-Sized Businesses Can’t Get Enough Bank Financing

March 27, 2024

ATHENS – Greek banks are once again making significant profits, but many small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to obtain loans during the economic recovery due to stringent borrowing measures.

“The major problem that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece are facing today is the lack of financing,” Ioannis Chatzitheodosiou, President of the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen, said as reported by Naftemporiki.

He held an online meeting with Luc Tholoniat, head of the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission, to discuss the challenges businesses are encountering.

“The conditions for bank lending are very strict, leading to the exclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises from the financing options offered by systemic banks. Similar difficulties are encountered in accessing EU financing programs,” he added.

Chatzitheodosiou also highlighted an unequal distribution of the Recovery Fund in favor of larger enterprises, along with limited accessibility for SMEs to other European bank lending and venture capital programs.

He further noted that the group has repeatedly appealed to the New Democracy government, which has been focusing on attracting large companies and foreign investors to expedite the recovery as the country emerges from the 2010-18 economic crisis.

SMEs require access to EU resources and funding allocated to governments for distribution to ensure they are not overlooked, as the sector collectively employs significantly more workers than major corporations.

Tholoniat expressed interest in the financing challenges faced by Greek SMEs and pledged to review the data presented by the president and inform the committee, although concrete actions were not specified.

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