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Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Expert in SME Finance Certified

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important engines of growth, jobs and social cohesion. However, the creation, survival and growth of SMEs is often hampered by access to finance. Thus, access to SME finance has become a key priority in developing and transition countries. Since the early nineties, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is combining advisory work, training, and policy advice with applied research. Our goal is to support financial institutions in developing and transition countries establish good practices in Micro and SME finance.

Course Details

The introduction to the course starts with positioning SME Finance compared to other client segments, e.g. corporate clients or retail clients. The learning goal of the course is to explain the main SME Finance principles, mainly focusing on credit risk analysis, the lending decision process and appropriate risk-taking intermediation as well as customer relationship management. SME businesses face a number of specific risks in their business but SME lending is a profitable business for many MFIs and banks that use the right methodology –cash flow based lending- and appropriate decision making tools.

Understanding the challenges that small and medium business owners are facing is fundamental to the provision of excellent service and achieving good credit decisions.

The course follows the below listed basic logics and assumptions on SME Finance:

  • SMEs require specific financial services and products according to their comparably small size and often limited scope.
  • SMEs sometimes operate in informal or semi-formal environments; access to reliable (or even audited) financial data is therefore often limited.
  • Since audited financial statements and sound business planning may not be available, the financial institution has to analyze the situation of the client carefully and verify verbal or internal statements.
  • Once data is gathered and verified, lending decisions can be taken based on financial considerations and depending on risk appetite.

Course Objectives

On successful completion of this module, students will have a thoroughout comprehension of principal concepts and theories in SME finance, i.e. they will be able to:

  • recall differences between SME finance compared to other client segments, e.g. corporate clients and retail clients
  • explain the specifics of SMEs in a geographically limited area
  • identify products and services required by SMEs in transition and developing countries

Unit 1: Introduction to SME Finance

Unit 3: SME Credit Analysis - Verifying Information

Unit 5: SME Credit Analysis - Cash Flow Analysis

Unit 2: SME Credit Analysis - Collecting and Understanding Information

Unit 4: SME Credit Analysis - Financial Analysis

Unit 6: Loan Portfolio Management and Monitoring

Unit 7: Supporting Activities and Strategy

This online course, which is based on Frankfurt School’s broad experience in practical project work and theoretical business school education programs, is tailored to the needs of mid-level managers and loan officers active or interested in SME Finance.

Who should attend

  • Mid-management of financial institutions working with SME Finance
  • Operational staff within financial institutions working with SME Finance
  • Top management of financial institutions wanting to enter SME Finance
  • Staff of regulators, policy makers, donors and other SME Finance related institutions
  • Staff of SME associations
  • Consultants, students and other individuals interested in SME Finance


Mike is an SME specialist with over 40 years experience. He has been delivering SME training courses for over 35 years. He worked for Barclays Bank PLC from 1971 to 2004, in a number of Area Director roles. He won national awards for sales and service. He became a consultant in 2004. He is a Seni...
Kairat is a Frankfurt School’s international advisor in SME banking and microfinance since 2010. He serves as one of the leading consultants and trainers at the Frankfurt School Competence Center in SME Finance and is regularly engaged in implementation of assignments in Eastern Europe and Asia. ...


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