UHY Victor LLP

Canadian Businesses Borrow 7% Less Since Onset of Financial Crisis

Double digit growth in BRIC nations, Many Eurozone countries have still not deleveraged and Research by UHY, a Top 25 global accounting and consultancy network.


Montreal, Quebec -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/29/2012 -- The value of loans to businesses in Canada has contracted by 7% since the onset of the financial crisis, the third fastest decline among the G8 according to UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

Outstanding to loans to Canadian businesses now stand at US$177 billion, down from US$191 billion in December 2008.

According to UHY, Canada has the 17th fastest rate of growth for loans to businesses out of 22 countries surveyed. In contrast, all of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations have increased their lending to businesses by double digits since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, while many Western economies – including the US and the UK - have seen lending fall by double digits.

It is interesting to note that while Canada’s lending dropped by 7% its major trading partner the United States saw lending decline by 16% putting it in 19th place among the 22 countries studied.

The research shows that BRIC nations’ banks have, on average, increased lending to businesses by 62% since December 2008 compared to banks in G8 nations, which have, on average, decreased funding to businesses by 4% over the same period.

UHY professionals studied Central Bank data on outstanding loans to businesses in 22 countries across its international network, including the G8, as well as key emerging economies, including the BRIC nations.

According to UHY, certain governments have been trying to boost lending to businesses post-Lehman Brothers, at the same time as banks looked to strengthen their balance sheets by reducing their loan books. However the Conservative Canadian government has been selective in intervening in the Canadian economy, and has generally refrained from initiatives which would increase bank lending to businesses across the board.

The country with the fastest increase in loans to businesses is China, where the amount of debt held by businesses increased by 65% since the onset of the credit crunch. Chinese banks have approximately US$6.9 trillion in outstanding loans with businesses, up from US$4.2 trillion in December 2008.

The country which has seen the largest reduction in the value of loans to businesses is Ireland. The value of outstanding loans to businesses has decreased by 42% since December 2008 from around US$224 billion to US$129 billion.

The research reveals, however, that some heavily indebted EU countries – Italy and France, for example - actually increased the value of loans to businesses, despite many of their banks being financially impaired by the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone.

Brahm Shiller, C.A. partner at UHY Victor, a Canadian member of UHY comments: “The Canadian government has adopted a conservative approach and as such has encouraged the Canadian banks to maintain a stable and careful approach to their business lending. This study reveals the reactions to the onset of the economic setbacks. First, some large Canadian corporations issued preferred shares, which reduced their borrowing requirements.

In addition, the corporate takeover market cooled, and leveraged takeovers all but vanished. Considering these trends, along with the general conservative borrowing mood of small and medium sized businesses, it is no surprise that the total lending fell during this period.”

“The four BRIC nations have seen their lending to businesses grow at the fastest rate, while among the G8, only Russia has seen a real terms increase in business lending over the last five years.”

“Lending to businesses, particularly small businesses, is a key barometer of economic prosperity. Small businesses are the engine of economic growth, but starved of fuel in the form of credit it can be difficult for them to move up a gear, expand and create jobs. In an increasingly globalised world, if a small business cannot expand to fulfill an order, that order can be lost to a better financed overseas competitor.”

He adds: “Small businesses are hugely reliant on bank financing as, unlike larger corporations, they are usually not able to raise money through bonds or share issues.”

The research shows that, many EU countries, including Romania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany have posted a significant increase in lending to businesses, despite the impact of the Eurozone crisis on the liquidity of European banks.

Brahm Shiller, C.A. of UHY Victor, Canadian member of UHY comments: “The lending increases by many European banks – in comparison with American, British and Canadian banks – could reflect the impact of those governments intervening to avert further deterioration of the local economies.”

He adds: “I believe that governments can and should do more to encourage investment in businesses. Bank lending is not the only channel for getting finance to SMEs, alternative forms of funding should be used as well, such as tax incentives for private investors.”

The research shows that, among the G8, Russia has seen the fastest increase in lending to businesses.

Nikolay Litvinov, partner of UHY Yans-Audit LLC in Russia comments: “The potential for growth of business credit in Russia remains high. Lending to businesses displayed improvement even during the global financial crisis. It is related, in many respects, to the financial stability achieved by cooperation between the state and the banking sector, as well as stable growth of Russia’s economy. Like other BRIC countries, Russia hasn’t got any preconditions for reduction in the scope of business credit.”

“The recent commodities boom has insulated Russian from the full force of the global financial crisis. The Russian economy, though suffering a financial crisis in 2008/09, has recovered quite strongly since then. This has fuelled appetite for debt among Russian businesses and enabled well-capitalised Russian banks to meet that demand.”

The research also reveals that lending to businesses in Ireland has declined by 42% since December 2008, from around US$224 billion to US$129 billion – the fastest rate among the 22 countries surveyed.

Alan Farrelly, partner of UHY Farrelly Dawe White Limited in Ireland, a member firm of UHY comments: “The Irish government has pumped more than €60 billion into the banking system over the last four years. The purpose of this money was to save the banks from collapse, but now that the immediate crisis has been averted, the Government needs to ensure that more of this money finds its way into the economy.”

Figures obtained from Central Bank sources. The outstanding loan balance to non-financial corporations was taken for December of each year. For 2011, the most recent balance available has been quoted. In most cases, this is the balance as of November 2011. Currencies converted to US dollars based on March 15 2012 exchange rates.

About UHY
Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 250 major business centres in 81 countries. Over 6,800 staff generated an aggregate income of US$625 million in 2011, ranking UHY the 21st largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to http:/www.uhy.com

UHY is a full member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit http://www.ifac.org/Forum_of_Firms/

For more information on UHY, please contact Brahm R. Shiller at UHY Victor in Montréal, or email: bshiller@uhyvictor.com

For UHY Victor LLP, Montreal
Brahm R. Shiller, TEP CA
UHY Victor LLP
759 Square Victoria, Suite 400, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2J7
Tel:(514) 282-1836 x204
Fax: (514) 282-6640
Email: bshiller@uhyvictor.com

For UHY, the international network
Dominique Maeremans
+44 20 7767 2621, or email: d.maeremans@uhy.com