What is a SME Loan ?
SME finance is the funding of small and medium sized enterprises, and represents a major function of the general business finance market – in which capital for different types of firms are supplied, acquired, and costed or priced. Capital is supplied through the business finance market in the form of bank loans and overdrafts; leasing and hire-purchase arrangements; equity/corporate bond issues; venture capital or private equity; and asset-based finance such as factoring and invoice discounting.
However, not all business finance is external/commercially supplied through the market. Much finance is internally generated by businesses out of their own earnings and/or supplied informally as trade credit, that is, delays in paying for purchases of goods and services.
The economic and banking importance of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is well recognized in academic and policy literature. It is also acknowledged that these actors in the economy may be under-served, especially in terms of finance. This has led to significant debate on the best methods to serve this sector. Although there have been numerous schemes and programmes in different economic environments, there are a number of distinctive recurring approaches to SME finance.