December 8, 2021


Only The Finest Women

What 100,000 bank accounts tell us about French SMEs in September 2021

Anne Epaulard, Etienne Fize, Titouan Le Calvé, Philippe Martin, Hélène Paris, Kevin Parra Ramirez, David Sraer 02 November 2021

The Covid-19 disaster was characterised in most industrialised countries by an unprecedented fall in financial exercise for several firms as effectively as exceptional federal government fiscal assist programmes to assist these firms. Fears that a substantial selection of businesses, particularly compact kinds, would fail have been prevalent, specially in the initially period of the crisis. This fear determined researchers to estimate the influence of the Covid-19 shock on firms’ funds flows (taking into account governing administration assistance). An illustration of this is the paper by Gourinchas et al. (2021), who assemble a design of company cost minimisation with loaded company-amount economic details. They estimate the impression of the crisis on business failures among the modest and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Their simulations recommend that lots of SMEs would have unsuccessful in the absence of policy support. This is also the summary of Barnes et al. (2021) in the British case. For France, Coeuré (2021) delivers a really in depth firm-stage examination of general public guidance.

Acquiring avoided a huge wave of organization failures during the crisis, now several countries are at a important juncture as the action of companies – specifically people mainly strike by limits – is speedily rebounding at the exact same time as the policy aid to these corporations is minimized or eradicated. A important issue – symmetric to the early worry that public guidance may not be plenty of to counter the financial shock to SMEs – is no matter if the rebound in financial exercise will be sufficient to compensate the reduction in community assistance. The plan discussion is also complicated by minimal real-time data on the monetary predicament of corporations. Existing investigation is dependent possibly on simulations (in addition to papers cited higher than, see Bureau et al. 2021) or on specific but dated (i.e. December 2020) stability sheets facts of companies (Doucinet et al. 2021). This lack of real-time details helps make it tricky to predict irrespective of whether and how speedily business failures will rebound in the near long term, an situation which has crucial penalties for the labour sector dynamics or banks losses.

A single resource of true time info on the fiscal problem of companies is lender account info. This supply has barely been exploited.1 An exception is the Financial institution of England (Hurley et al. 2021), but the most recent facts point for which is December 2020. 

In a new paper (Epaulard et al. 2021), we exploit a exceptional data et on corporate accounts of a big French Lender – Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale – to study the evolution of the fiscal posture of French micro-enterprises (MEs) (corporations with much less than 10 staff) and SMEs (in between 10 and 250 staff). We use a sample of about 100,000 anonymised MEs/SMEs during the Covid-19 crisis. Exclusively, our facts monitor inflows and outflows into examining and financial savings account, as properly as balances on these accounts, and liabilities at the financial institution. Though the dataset does not have any information on non-financial belongings and liabilities, it however permits us to track, in around true time and at higher frequency, firms’ liquidity and net economic placement. As a result, we concentration on two proportions of the economic condition of firms that are regarded to be superior predictors of their hazard of failure: liquidity and solvency.

In the future, as the governing administration progressively withdraws its aid to companies, regular monthly updates will allow us to monitor (1) whether or not the financial restoration is enough to offset the drop in money support, and (2) whether companies can repay the financial debt contracted through the crisis.  The most recent details level we current right here is September 2021.

More income in all sectors

The to start with striking observation is a sizeable increase, at the combination degree, of dollars balances held on company accounts. This can be attributed to economical support provided by the governing administration, in portion as a result of condition-certain loans (recognized as ‘PGE’ in French), which have been closely applied by firms in France. All sectors practical experience an improvement in liquidity, as illustrated in Determine 1. There are fewer firms in August 2021 in a ‘very weak’ or ‘weak’ liquidity placement (described as the share of corporations down below the 5th and 25th percentile of pre-disaster income balances) than in the 4 months previous the pandemic.

Figure 1 Liquidity circumstance of all companies

Take note: The dark purple component (“Very weak”) corresponds to the share of companies whose liquidity condition at the conclude of the month is below the threshold that corresponded to the worst 5{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} of companies prior to the disaster. The other thresholds are the 25{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2}, 75{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} and 95{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} thresholds. The thresholds are calculated inside every type of business (SME or ME) as perfectly as within providers in the very same turnover bracket.
Source: Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale info.

Internet financial situation: Far more heterogeneous situations in September 2021

Over and above liquidity, we also examine firms’ insolvency possibility as a result of their web credit card debt. Net personal debt corresponds to the big difference concerning the remaining principal stability on all money owed held at the bank and the harmony on examining and saving accounts. The previous involves term financial loans and small-term money owed, such as condition-certain financial loans. 

For both equally the typical and median company in our sample, internet personal debt of MEs and SMEs lessened significantly concerning February 2020 (just just before the first lockdown) and September 2021. But this advancement in firms’ economical place was not uniform. Econometric analysis suggests that although the regular web personal debt was decreased over the period of time, the evolution was significantly less favourable for SMEs than for MEs. This is possible because of to the structure of the principal income subsidy (Fonds de Solidarité), which was initially a lot more generous for more compact companies. The economical situation has also developed much less favourably in the Paris region. This confirms that in locations the place a large share of economic exercise depends on tourism, the economic shock induced by the pandemic was much better. Our analyses also show that in all geographic locations micro-enterprises in so-called ‘S1 industries’  (i.e. industries categorized by the governing administration as the most afflicted by health and fitness constraints and for that reason a lot more subsidised) have expert a bigger reduction in internet credit card debt. The point that the economical condition of modest firms in sectors most afflicted by sanitary limitations but also most supported by general public plan improved additional (apart from the Paris location) than corporations in much less afflicted sectors indicates that general public aid may perhaps have overcompensated the Covid-19 shock for a lot of firms.

In just about every sector there is an enhance in heterogeneity of economical situations 

Within every business, there is an raise in the heterogeneity of net fiscal positions in September 2021 relative to the pre-pandemic scenario. In just about all industries, we see an maximize not only in the share of corporations in a challenging financial situation, but also in the share of these in a potent economic situation. The disaster has produced a more polarised distribution of firms within just each individual sector, which may well in the long term lead to reallocation dynamics with probably important penalties for the construction of sectors and combination efficiency. Figure 2 illustrates this amplified heterogeneity for the production, transportation, and construction sectors.

Figure 2 Net fiscal problem of 4 sectors

Supply: Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale information.

There are two noteworthy surprising dynamics. To start with, the accommodation and foodstuff service things to do have knowledgeable an in general reduce in the share of corporations with ‘weak’ economic positions. 2nd, the building sector appears to be the most fragile, with a sharp improve in the share of companies in a ‘very weak’ money condition. A possible rationalization lies in the generous aid gained by corporations in the first sector relative to the second.

What do these results notify us about bankruptcies in the months to come? The number of bankruptcies fell drastically in 2020 relative to pre-pandemic ranges (by all over 38{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} in contrast with 2019). This drop indicates that a selection of companies that have survived in 2020 and 2021 would in all probability have failed in ‘normal’ moments, though business bankruptcies have responded to the very same things through the disaster as they ordinarily do ( Cros et al. 2021). These companies probable belong to the classification of firms we explain as getting a ‘weak’ financial place. In a number of sectors (notably lodging and food items), an raise in bankruptcies in the coming months would therefore mainly be a ‘catch-up’ course of action. But in other industries (notably construction and producing), the rise in the range of companies in a ‘very weak’ fiscal situation is much larger than the ‘missing bankruptcies’. In these industries, the concern no matter whether weak companies will be able to repay their personal debt is nevertheless open up. This phone calls for vigilance and close checking in the coming months. We imagine the use of authentic-time financial institution details will be specially useful.


Barnes, S, R Hillman, G Wharf and D MacDonald (2021),  “How enterprises are surviving Covid-19: The resilience of companies and the role of govt support”,, 16 July.

Bounie, D, Y Camara, É Fize, J Galbraith, C Landais, C Lavest, T Pazem and B Savatier (2020), “Consumption Dynamics in the COVID Disaster: Serious Time Insights from French Transaction & Lender Data”, CAE target, Oct.

Bureau, B, A Duquerroy, J Giorgi, M Lé, S Scott and F Vinas (2021), “Health crisis: (extremely) heterogeneous funds flow shocks”, Banque de France.

Coeuré, B (2021), “What 3.5 million French corporations can explain to us about the effectiveness of Covid-19 support measures”,, 8 September.

Doucinet, V, D Ly and G Torre (2021), “The differentiated affect of the disaster on companies’ economical situation”, Banque de France.

Epaulard, A, É Fize, T Le Calvé, P Martin, H Paris, K Parra Ramirez and D Sraer (2021), “The fiscal condition of French smaller corporations centered on their lender accounts in August 2021”, Emphasis Conseil d’Analyse Economique.

Gourinchas, P O, Ş Kalemli-Özcan, V Penciakova and N Sander (2021), “COVID-19 and SME Failures”, May possibly.

Hurley, J, S Karmakar, E Markoska, E Walczak and D Walker (2021), “Impacts of the Covid‐19 Disaster: Evidence from 2 Million Uk SMEs”, Lender of England, Staff Operating Paper 924.


1 This is not the circumstance for households’ economical predicament throughout the disaster, as financial institution accounts have been analysed by many experiments (e.g. Bounie et al. 2020).