Some of the largest European and global banks are tightening credit policies because of the ongoing crisis in credit markets, but some of Europe’s smaller and regional banks are aggressively courting companies with offers of credit – a trend that could be working to forestall any general tightening of credit conditions, according to analysts Greenwich Associates. Greenwich Associates’ 2008 European Corporate Banking Study suggests that companies that obtain credit from the largest global and pan-European banks are feeling the sting of changes to these banks’ lending policies. Among companies using smaller banks as credit providers, the share describing their banks as “most reliable” or “most willing to lend” has been almost unchanged since 2005. In fact, many of the small banks that Greenwich Associates works with see current market developments as a nearly unprecedented opportunity. “I’ve had bankers from regional banks tell me that this is the best thing that has happened for them in years,” said Greenwich Associates consultant Markus Ohlig.
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