Public Credit Guarantee Schemes in Supporting SMEs: An Evaluation of Effectiveness and Impacts

  •  Maria Cristina Arcuri    
  •  Lorenzo Gai    
  •  Federica Ielasi    


Public credit guarantee schemes are set up with the purpose of facilitating access to credit by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The aim of the paper is to study the effectiveness and impacts of the Italian Central Guarantee Fund (CGF)’s activity, one of the main public guarantee schemes in Europe. This is even more important in the light of the 2018 CGF reform.

Analyzing a sample which includes all the guarantees issued by the CGF from 2012 to 2018 on loans made to manufacturing companies, we find that the CGF methodology is partially able to capture the variables affecting the probability of default of SMEs. The CGF scores before the reform show poor capability to forecast risk in the medium term, above all for micro and small enterprises. The post-reform model shows better forecasting ability and a greater consistency with the Z’’-score, one of the most recognized model in the distress prediction literature. The new CGF model may indirectly control the behaviour of lenders and first-level guarantors. In particular, our findings show that the probability of default on exposures covered by a mutual guarantee institution and counter-guaranteed by the CGF is lower than the probability of default of loans granted by a bank and directly guaranteed by the CGF. As a consequence, the direct guarantees need to be more monitored by the CGF and potential effects on the bank behaviour may derive, strengthening ECB’s supervision activities.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.