Keywords: Mutual Loan-Guarantee Consortia; credit rationing; Italian Mezzogiorno; bank-firm relationships
This paper focuses on the perspective role of Mutual Loan-Guarantee Consortia (MLGC) in mitigating credit constraints for SMEs located in the Italian Mezzogiorno. First, we argue how the functioning of MLGC fits into the theory of bank-firm relationships, also referring to the scarce empirical evidence on the issue. Second, we evaluate the weakness - in terms of size, volume of activity, patrimonial requirements and guaranteed loans - of the Southern MLGC system. We then provide insights on the impact of the novelties introduced by the New Basel Capital Accord (Basel II) on MLGC's activity. Finally, we conclude for the need of public support to MLGC in the Mezzogiorno in order to enhance their function of facilitating the matching of demand and supply in the credit market.