Unlocking SME Finance in Argentina with Psychometrics

Apr 2013
Access to finance remains a challenge for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Argentina. It is a particularly acute problem among newly created SMEs that have a scant credit record and frequently lack collateral. The authors of this paper carried out a pilot test of an innovative psychometric tool aimed at evaluating credit risk among SME clients of Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires (BCBA), one of the top three public banks of Argentina. SME responses were compared to their historical repayment records to determine if psychometric-based credit scoring models could help ameliorate the constraints to SME finance. A scorecard based on that information and built using international data results in a Gini coefficient between 20 percent and 40 percent: those SMEs rejected by the psychometricbased scorecard with this Gini coefficient have a probability of defaulting that is three to four times greater than those accepted. Along with other policies to reduce information asymmetry in SME lending, such a tool could help relieve constraints to SME finance in Argentina.