Loan Officer and the Evolution of Bank-SMEs Relationship in Tunisia

  •  Fredj Fhima    
  •  Walid Trabelsi    


This paper empirically investigates the role of the loan officer in the evolution of the bank-SMEs relationship and its motivation for studying credit demand, its level of alignment to the hierarchy and its participation in the decision-making process. Based on a survey of 160 loan officers from two large Tunisian commercial banks: the ‘Société Tunisienne de Banque’ (STB) – as a public bank, and the ‘Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie’ (BIAT) – as a private bank, data analysis shows that self-esteem, need for success, autonomy in performing duties, and participation in the decision-making process are motivating factors at work for loan officers at both banks. The number of visits to the premises of the SME and the average length of interviews with its manager are considered important for the acquisition of soft information. Regarding the decision-making power, while a certain delegation has been instituted at the regional level in the BIAT, it is more the responsibility of the central committees in the STB. The decision of evolution depends more on the hierarchical superiors in a private bank that is why the BIAT officers are closer to their superiors than those of the STB.

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