Intellectual Capital and Banks’ Credit Assessment of SMEs: Evidence from Denmark and Germany

Ute Vanini, Dennis van Liempd

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we analyse how Danish and German banks consider the intellectual capital (IC) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their creditworthiness assessment processes. We did case studies in 12 Danish and German banks and conducted interviews with bank advisors and analysts. The results show that banks consider IC factors in their creditworthiness assessments, whereas top management quality and relationships to customers are included in the banks' ratings, other IC factors are considered in the qualitative creditworthiness assessments. Otherwise, credit ratings of SMEs mainly focus on financial information. Our research is limited by the number of interviewed banks and the concentration on creditworthiness assessments of SMEs. The paper reveals weaknesses concerning the integration of IC factors in credit decision processes of banks. In addition, SMEs receive information about relevant IC factors when applying for a loan.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)252-276
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Banks
  • Creditworthiness assessment
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Intellectual capital
  • Interviews
  • Rating
  • SMEs

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