Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
In Sweden we have environmental objectives to achieve for the year 2020. Swedish banks have a responsibility like everyone else in a society to act environmentally responsible. When Swedish banks are lending to SMEs they are taking a risk, however, banks are risk averse and want to minimize their risk. By lending to a company that does not take environmental responsibility the risk are increasing. In this study we want to research if Swedish banks take environmental responsibility of companies into account when lending to SMEs.
Previous studies show that banks do make an environmental consideration when lending to companies, but there is lack of similar studies in Swedish banks. Additionally, the previous findings have shown to be contradictory. We also thought it would be interesting to see whether Swedish banks are familiar with the environmental objectives since we are not far from 2020. Additionally, we want to find out if there have been any changes since previous years, and if Swedish banks work differently with environmental issues in their lending process to SMEs. Thus, our problem statement is:
Do Swedish banks take SMEs environmental responsibility into account in the lending process? And are the Swedish banks familiar with the environmental objectives?
Some theories that are discussed in this study are the environmental risks that the banks are exposing themselves to when lending to SMEs. The environmental risks are divided into three categories, reputational risk, direct risk and indirect risk. Another theory that we discuss is the information asymmetry, which also affects the lending process. To grant a loan that is not too risky for the bank, and still fair to the company, the bank need to make an assessment. The assessment is based on the information SMEs gives Swedish banks and therefore the companies have the possibility to not be completely truthful.
This is a quantitative research with a deductive approach, and in order to get our results we sent out surveys to Swedish banks that work with lending to SMEs. A total of 75 surveys were sent to the Swedish banks and the 32 answers we received constituted a response rate of 51,6 % since only 62 surveys reached the respondents.
The result from our survey showed that Swedish banks do take the environmental responsibility of the company into account when lending to SMEs, however, they are not familiar with the environmental objectives. Thus, they do consider the companies’ environmental responsibility when granting loans to SMEs, however, we do not know whether the environmental objectives are included in this process or not. We could also see from the result of our survey that Swedish banks environmental responsibility has change with time.
The conclusion of this research is that Swedish banks do take environmental responsibility of the company into account when lending to SMEs. This is something they should consider to develop and incorporate in their environmental work. However, they are not familiar with the environmental objectives.
2016. , 79 p.