27 July 2020

Speaking at the IIF (Institute of International Finance) Webinar Discussion on Digitalisation to Support SMEs, Olivier Khayat highlighted that 60 per cent of Europe’s GDP comes from SMEs and the challenge to support them is even more important in this historical moment

2:00 min

UniCredit’s Co-CEO Commercial Banking Western Europe, Olivier Khayat, last week was part of the webinar panel “Digitalization to Support SMEs” organised by the Institute of International Finance to discuss the challenges faced by SMEs and how financial institutions are supporting their small business clients.

Talking about how critical SMEs are to the European economy and how banks have historically been servicing SMEs, Olivier said that “supporting SMEs, especially in this moment impacted by the Covid 19 crisis, is absolutely key. 60 per cent of Europe’s  GDP is at stake”.

Covid 19 accelerated the shift towards new business models and flexible front-end architectures. That is why SMEs need “super flexible and quick services” as well as to receive an ad hoc “advisory support and a proximity” from banks that only a technological boost would allow.

Olivier also highlighted that “the crisis has put liquidity issues under the spotlight and small businesses’ access to working capital is essential as it represents the line of defence.” Banks are part of the solution and “our role is to support the economy starting from capital, making sure that SMEs don’t  run out of it. To do so we need to bring both investors and solutions to them, being able to operate and service customers in a fully digital environment”. Furthermore, we have to “maximise the use of technology, knowing also that the level of proximity and advice has never been so important as it is now. That is the major change”, he stated.