How to Bridge MSME Finance Gap Through Innovative Lending

How to Bridge MSME Finance Gap Through Innovative Lending?

Guest Post

MSMEs are vital for the economy. They provide half of all jobs and contribute 40% to the total GDP worldwide. However, they struggle to secure the funds they need to succeed. Traditional lending models involve cumbersome paperwork and strict requirements, which fail to accommodate the flexible needs of these dynamic enterprises.

Consequently, an estimated $5.2 trillion annual financing gap hinders innovation and growth in this vital economic sector, affecting 65 million MSMEs in developing countries and 40% of the formal sector. Financial institutions can address this challenge by tailoring innovative lending products and services to meet the unique needs of MSMEs. It’ll provide financial institutions with a competitive edge while facilitating their growth. Let’s delve deeper into this topic.

Understanding the MSME Finance Gap

As per a recent study by EY, the MSME sector in India falls behind the global average in terms of formal credit usage. To illustrate, MSMEs in India face significant challenges with a credit gap of $530 billion.

Out of the 64 million MSMEs in the nation, only 14% can access credit. The total financial requirement in the MSME sector amounts to $1,955 billion with a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.8x. The demand for debt-based financing stands at $1,544 billion.

Approximately 47% of the debt demand from MSMEs remains unmet. This is mainly due to the financial instability of these businesses or their preference for funding from non-transparent informal sources, which often impose high interest rates.

Consequently, there is a debt demand of $819 billion, out of which formal credit lenders like private banks fulfil $289 billion. The remaining $530 billion of unmet demand represents a significant market opportunity for NBFCs and FinTechs.

Challenges in Traditional Lending for MSMEs

Outlined below are a few common problems faced by MSME entrepreneurs when availing of a loan via traditional lenders:

  • Traditional Lenders Lack Trust in Approving MSME Loans

Due to the modest capital requirements of MSMEs and concerns regarding their ability to repay, banking institutions hesitate to extend loans to these businesses. Consequently, banks enforce stricter conditions on startups seeking MSME funding.

Another factor contributing to the perceived risk of MSME loans is the absence of a credit history, leading financial institutions to continuously monitor and engage with MSMEs throughout the repayment period. This incurs significant costs for the banks.

Furthermore, small enterprises often struggle to maintain their credit scores, hindering their access to MSME financing. Additionally, the protracted approval process for MSME loans further compounds the frustration of business owners.

  • MSMEs Lack Collateral to Avail of Their Loans

The severe collateral demands of lenders often hinder MSMEs from securing business loans. A small enterprise doesn’t typically possess adequate collateral to meet a bank’s requirements, as it lacks its own property. They completely get stuck with the verification procedure, which makes it challenging for them to secure a loan.

Many entrepreneurs choose unsecured business loans to avoid providing collateral and dealing with complicated loan approval processes.

  • Entrepreneurs Have Less Financial Education

An apt financial strategy is vital to preventing business growth from collapsing. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs frequently encounter a shortage of financial knowledge. Insufficient insights render it challenging for them to steer their businesses effectively.

Business proprietors, particularly those at the helm of start-ups, require a comprehensive grasp of financial landscapes. Absent proper foresight, businesses risk making misguided decisions and incurring avoidable expenses.

This often results in escalated operational expenditures and diminished creditworthiness. Moreover, opting for an unsuitable lender amplifies interest rates for SMEs seeking small business financing.

  • Lack of Modern Financial Solutions

An additional aspect adding to the challenges faced by MSMEs is established regulatory norms. Small enterprises encounter difficulties in securing licences, certifications, tax evaluations, and insurance coverage.

However, many of these regulations endure during the process of obtaining an MSME loan, particularly in rural regions, despite government initiatives and the emergence of FinTech solutions. The persistence of such regulations makes it arduous for MSMEs to secure timely financing.

  • MSMEs Have Obsolete Technologies

The technological and legal advancements within the FinTech sector have yet to penetrate the majority of MSME enterprises, particularly those situated in rural locales, despite governmental endeavours and the rise of the FinTech sector.

When presenting gripping reasons for funding and securing MSME business loans, MSMEs encounter limitations stemming from outdated technology and a deficiency in expertise. Insufficient capital hampers many businesses in their ability to manufacture, procure raw materials promptly, and adapt to new methodologies. Furthermore, a lack of confidence in technology and unfamiliarity with online business transactions hinder numerous small businesses from accessing MSME loans via digital channels.

Consequently, startups should remain abreast of advantageous technologies from their inception. Presently, the government is prioritising offering technological solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Building Partnerships for Sustainable Lending

Addressing the $5.2 trillion annual financing gap in the MSME sector necessitates collaboration between modern lending entities and traditional financial institutions. Strategic partnerships involving NBFCs, fintech startups, and similar entities are essential to foster a comprehensive financial ecosystem that is confident, forward-thinking, and efficient in extending loans to previously underserved borrowers.

This unified approach will give rise to innovative financial services that effectively address the credit gap for MSMEs in a cost-efficient manner. For example, loan application and approval processes can be streamlined by leveraging the digital lending infrastructure of fintech startups alongside the expertise of NBFCs. It results in faster credit disbursement. Collaborative financing efforts will also enable MSMEs to access funds at lower costs, as shared risk among multiple entities leads to reduced interest rates and fees for borrowers.

Besides improved access to capital, MSMEs also benefit from customer-centric solutions such as marketing support, financial management advice, and other forms of business assistance. These resources, previously inaccessible to many MSMEs, offer valuable opportunities for learning and growth within the collaborative ecosystem.


It’s vital to bridge the finance gap for MSMEs through innovative lending to fuel economic growth and uplift small businesses. When we embrace practical lending solutions and team up with both traditional banks and newer lending platforms like NBFCs and fintech startups, we create opportunities for MSMEs to flourish. This approach will spark innovation, boost the economy, and make the financial system more fair and accessible for everyone.

*The information in this article does not necessarily reflect the views of The Global Hues. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information in this article.*  

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