The numerous small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the various Italian industrial clusters suffered a drop in bank financing of €57 billion during the 2010-17 period, and the situation has not improved since then. Two out of ten of the banks located in their territories closed their doors during the same period, especially in the Veneto region, where most of the eyewear manufacturers are located.
The eyewear cluster around Belluno, which is one of the most profitable ones, has been hit more than the other Italian industrial districts that specialize in textiles, fashion, furniture, jewelry and food products. The level of bank financing dried up by 42 percent between 2010 and 2017 in their territory, with 25 percent of the bank doors in Belluno's province shutting down.
Also in the Veneto region, where 34 percent of the banking counters closed down for various reasons during the period, the second most-affected area was that of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, where the famous prosecco wine is produced.
Noting that the lack of financing is a national problem, Sipao, the association of eyewear producers in the Belluno area, has expressed fears that their financing problems will get worse because of the Italian debt crisis, which has led to an increase in interest rates on short-term loans.
Nationwide, bank loans granted to Italian companies declined by 5.7 percent in 2017 overall, despite an increase in medium-term loans. The statistics show that only 11 percent of the small enterprises with less than nine employees are able to get any financing in the country.