Milan and Paris – April 7, 2010 – The global financial and economic crisis, characterized by the increasing
cost of risk, a shrinking demand in the markets, and rising pressure on banks to support the economy, has
highlighted the significant challenge faced by the small business banking market to accelerate business
development while managing risk. To overcome this key challenge, successful retail banks must strengthen
the role of the relationship manager and improve their credit risk management system, according to “Small
Business Banking and the Crisis,” a report from Capgemini, UniCredit and the European financial
marketing association (Efma).
Balancing two imperatives: accelerating development while controlling risk in the small business market
The report, which draws on an extensive market survey and interviews with 58 large retail banks in 21 countries,
confirms that the small business market is attractive and strategic for retail banks today;
Small businesses represent 99% of all companies (in Europe, Japan and the United States) and 51% of employment
(in the private and non-financial economy). Considering the importance of small businesses to national economies,
most governments have a strong interest in supporting this fast-growing market, and as such, banks have added
pressure to make development a top priority.
Despite its development potential, the small business market remains risky and complex, and requires strong risk
management from retail banks due to factors such as low capitalization, no credit ratings and high bankruptcy rates
in comparison to larger enterprises.
“As the report validates, the small business market accounts for almost a third of retail banks’ net banking income,
yet represents nearly half of their total retail risk-weighted assets. The small business market is, therefore,
necessary but challenging,” comments Patrick Desmarès, Secretary General, Efma.
In addition, according to interviewees, increased cost of risk is considered the number one threat caused by the
crisis (86%) followed by a drop in demand (68%). These outweighed other challenges such as pressure on prices
(45%) and better-armed competitors (34%). The drop in demand and higher costs of risk seen in the post-crisis
landscape will force banks to adapt in order to succeed.
Achieving the “winning bank” model
Successfully acting on these challenges is critical for retail banks. Key to the report’s findings is the emergence of
the “winning bank” model, which prescribes methods for retail banks to outperform competitors on both managing
risk and development of the small business market.
“To overcome these increased threats, successful retail banks will develop two critical areas: the role of the
relationship manager and the credit risk management system,” says Bertrand Lavayssière, Managing Director,
Global Financial Services, Capgemini. “Shifting the role of the relationship manager towards closer client
relationships and increased empowerment on credit risk management, paired with the implementation of a complete
and effective credit risk management system are the keys to success.”
To help outperform their competitors on both development and risk management, banks must ensure strong client
relationships through a deep understanding of each client’s line of business, needs and expectations. Banks must
also empower relationship managers to manage credit risk – by granting them more authority and responsibility in
the decision process as well as in credit underwriting, credit portfolio management and loan rescheduling. In
addition, banks’ credit risk management system will need to meet the highly specific and complex risk management
needs of the small business market, including accurate governance, efficient organizational credit risk management
processes, and complete and seamless supporting information systems.
Establishing the winning bank model enables retail banks to achieve high levels of client satisfaction from small
business clients and to better leverage cross-selling strategies, which are at the core of any retail bank’s
development efforts in the small business market. The winning bank model will also enhance a bank’s ability to
develop and leverage risk-management best practices, including sophisticated credit scoring tools, enhanced
proactive management of performing portfolio and “soft collection.”
“The capability of each bank to effectively serve small businesses is crucial not only for its profitability, but also
for its reputation and legitimacy. To be successful with small businesses, banks must stabilize relationship
managers, continuously invest in their competence, bring innovations to the credit process, establish a smooth
multi-channel interface and gain the trust needed to address the personal and savings dimension of the
entrepreneur,” says Roberto Nicastro, Group Deputy CEO & Head of Retail Strategic Business Area, UniCredit.
To implement the winning bank model and unlock the potential of the small business market, banks must define a
transformation strategy that is based on a bank’s starting point related to the relationship manager’s role, credit risk
management, organization, culture and HR.
The Small Business Banking Report is available today and can be downloaded at and
About The Small Business Banking Report
“Small Business Banking and the Crisis: Managing Development and Risk” is the seventh edition of the World
Retail Banking Report. Jointly produced by Capgemini, UniCredit and Efma, the report focuses on investigating the
challenge the small business banking market faces to accelerate business development while mastering risk, which
was brought to the forefront by the economic and financial crisis.
Based on 58 in-depth interviews with senior executives from leading banks in 21 countries, the report offers an
overview of the challenging but critical small business market, proposes a winning model to overcome today’s risk
management and development challenges, highlights the major benefits of this model, and suggests practical next
steps to reach and implement it successfully.
To find out about local presentations in your area or sign-up for your free copy (available April 7), visit and
About Capgemini
Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its
clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities
that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working, the Collaborative Business
ExperienceTM. The Group relies on its global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to get the right balance
of the best talent from multiple locations, working as one team to create and deliver the optimum solution for
clients. Present in more than 30 countries, Capgemini reported 2009 global revenues of EUR 8.4 billion and
employs 90,000 people worldwide. More information is available at
About Capgemini Financial Services
Capgemini Financial Services brings deep industry experience, innovative service offerings and next generation
global delivery to serve the financial services industry. With a network of 15,000 professionals serving over 900
clients worldwide, Capgemini collaborates with leading banks, insurers and capital market companies to create
tangible value. More information is available at
Righ tshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini
About UniCredit
UniCredit is a major international financial institution with strong roots in 22 European countries as well as
representative offices in 27 other markets, with approximately 10,000 branches, more than 166,000 employees at 30
September 2009.
In the CEE region, UniCredit operates the largest international banking network with approximately 4,000 branches
and outlets. The Group operates in the following countries: Austria Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland,
Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine. For more information:
About Efma
Efma promotes innovation in retail finance in Europe by fostering debate and discussion among the main players
involved in change. Formed in 1971, Efma comprises 2,960 different brands in financial services worldwide today,
including 80% of the largest European banking groups.
Through regular events, publications, and its comprehensive website, the association provides retail financial
service professionals with answers to their questions about the main issues at stake in their business:
multidistribution strategies, customer approach, CRM, product and service marketing and improving profitability.
Efma is above all a dynamic association, providing a great opportunity for discussion and exchanges without any
commercial constraints. It provides its members with a wide range of exclusive services as well as discount rates on
nongratuitous activities. The loyalty of its members as well as their permanent financial support are the best proof
of its efficiency. For more information: