Abstract: The recent crises (financial crisis of 2007-2008 and pandemic crisis) put pressure on the access to finance of firms, particularly of SMEs. Using a large microdata database from SAFE (Survey on access to finance of enterprises) survey of European Central Bank/European Commission, we investigated the factors that affect the access to loans of companies in European Union countries. We found that the economic growth is positive in accessing bank loans, the impact being stronger in the case of Central and Eastern European countries and increasing with the size of the firm. Also, an increase in funding cost was found to be negative for the access to banking loans, the effect being stronger in the case of CEE countries. Being a micro or a small firm is decreasing the probability to access a bank loan and credit history has a strong role in accessing funding. We found also that the increase in leverage leads to a deterioration in access to finance, and this effect seems to be stronger for CEE countries. Access to public financial support, including guarantees, has been found to be very important for accessing loans, and even more important if the size of firm was lower.

Keywords: access to finance; SMEs; public support

JEL codes: E51, G01, G21, D22

DOI: ...