Banks and Bank Systems (Dec 2021)

Securitization of (bad) loans to Italian SMES: The role of the public guarantee

  • Lucilla Bittucci,
  • Stefano Marzioni,
  • Pina Murè,
  • Marco Spallone

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 4
pp. 193 – 208


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This study investigates the main factors driving the evolution of the securitization of loans to Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The value of securitization increased in last two years, even though it has not been used as collateral for central banks. The disposal of non-performing loans (NPLs) may have been rather triggered by increasing attention of the international institutions to such an issue, within the general purpose of financial stability. The purpose of this paper is to interpret such a phenomenon focusing on Italian banks and restricting the analysis to the case of securitizations backed with loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The interesting result that emerges, supported by econometrically tested empirical evidence, is that given the orientation of international financial institutions, such as the ECB and the EBA, and reacting to incentives coming from the fiscal policy authorities for the public guarantee of loans, banks have been using securitization to reduce the burden on their bad balance sheets due to (NPLs). It was found that the public guarantee had a positive impact on SME securitization, whereas securitization in other sectors has not been affected significantly. Such evidence suggests that, in the absence of a public guarantee, the financial stability target would have been at risk, and the effectiveness of collateral-based policies in the recent past must be improved to enhance access to credit for SMEs.