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Creditworthiness and access to finance: a study of SMEs in the Malaysian manufacturing industry

Shaista Wasiuzzaman (School of Business, Universiti Teknologi Brunei , Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)
Nabila Nurdin (Faculty of Management, Multimedia University , Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Aznur Hajar Abdullah (Faculty of Management, Multimedia University , Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Gowrie Vinayan (School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University , Putrajaya, Malaysia)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 28 November 2019

Issue publication date: 12 March 2020




The purpose of this study is to empirically assess the relationship between the dimensions of creditworthiness and access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia, with creditworthiness as the mediating variable. The lack of empirical research on the relationship between creditworthiness and access to finance forms the motivation of this study.


Questionnaires covering various characteristics of the firms, their access to finance and creditworthiness were distributed to a total of 456 SMEs in the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor region for this purpose. A total of 158 responses were returned, of which 145 were usable responses and the relationships are tested using SEM-PLS.


This study finds that an SME and its owner’s character have significant influences on access to finance. An SME’s condition and its ability to provide high quality collateral are found to be highly significant in influencing its access to finance. Capacity is significant but its significance is low, while capital is insignificant. Creditworthiness has a significant positive influence on access to finance.


This study contributes to the important yet under-researched issue of access to finance for SMEs. It highlights the issue of character of applicant as an important dimension of creditworthiness that can significantly influence access to finance for SMEs.



This research is funded by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) [grant number FRGS/1/2014/SS05/MMU/02/4].

The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewer and the Editor for their constructive feedback which greatly benefited this manuscript.


Wasiuzzaman, S., Nurdin, N., Abdullah, A.H. and Vinayan, G. (2020), "Creditworthiness and access to finance: a study of SMEs in the Malaysian manufacturing industry", Management Research Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 293-310.



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