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The determinants of bank selection criteria of SMEs: a fuzzy analytic hierarchy approach

Manpreet Kaur (Department of Commerce and Management, Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management, Ludhiana, India)
Sanjay Gupta (Department of Commerce and Management, Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management, Ludhiana, India)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 28 December 2021

Issue publication date: 2 March 2023




Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been reported as a credit-constrained sector in the earlier literature. Amidst the available external financing options, SMEs are dependent upon banks for their financial needs, hence they offer an important profitable segment for banks. Commercial banks need to develop effective targeting strategies for this segment and ranking the priorities of SMEs in selecting commercial banks will be of great help to them. The purpose of this paper is to implement a fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) multi-criteria decision model for commercial bank’s selection by SMEs.


The research process was carried out in two phases. In Phase I, a self-structured scale was developed to measure bank selection criteria of SMEs after an extensive review of the literature of relevant studies on the topic. A sample of 600 SMEs was selected through non-proportionate quota sampling and only 313 valid responses were received. Phase II was conducted to prioritize the extracted factors through FAHP, a multi-criteria decision-making technique. For this purpose, another questionnaire was designed in the form of pair-wise evaluation and the response was taken on the same from those 313 SMEs again.


The results showed that SMEs bank selection criteria can be categorized under six heads, namely, bank attributes, accommodation of credit needs (AC), bank personnel, financial factors (FF), service quality (SQ) and business knowledge. The research study produced a reliable and valid instrument for studying the bank selection criteria of SMEs. The results further revealed that AC is the most important factor considered by SMEs followed by FF and SQ. Going further, global weights were also calculated through the FAHP which revealed that the most important consideration (variable) viewed upon by SMEs is willingness to accommodate credit needs followed by flexible collateral requirements and absence of hidden charges.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the present study offer significant insights as to the factors SMEs consider while making a bank selection decision. It is of utmost importance for banks to identify true determinant factors used by SMEs while making bank choice decisions as they offer ample profit and revenue opportunities to banks. The results of the study provide a practical approach to banks that would help them in framing strategies for SMEs customers.


This is the first study of its kind which has not only focused on the hierarchy of factors measuring bank selection criteria of SMEs rather on the hierarchy of single variables also through the calculation of global weights. As banks cannot focus on all the dimensions of the criteria, they can focus on the spirit of that particular criteria.



Kaur, M. and Gupta, S. (2023), "The determinants of bank selection criteria of SMEs: a fuzzy analytic hierarchy approach", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 329-352.



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