German banking

Germany has a complex banking system that provides a lot of support for SME manufacturing.

The main strength of German economy is the so-called ‘Mittelstand’, a dense fabric of SMEs that manage to export high-quality manufactured products. In France, policymakers from all parties are obsessed with building a ‘French Mittelstand’. Economists are repeatedly asked to produce reports on what France could do to foster its SMEs the way Germany does (see for ex. Kohler D., Weisz J.-D. & FSI, 2012). At first glance, it does seem that the Mittelstand has done quite well throughout the financial crisis. This implies that German SMEs have enjoyed continued access to affordable financing since 2008. Indeed, at the macroeconomic level, studies show “no signs of credit crunch” (Ziebarth, 2013, see also Friderichs & Körting, 2011). link