OWNER CHARACTERISTICS AND ACCESS TO BANK FINANCING: PERCEPTUAL EVIDENCE FROM SMEs IN NORTH CENTRAL NIGERIA
The study examines the influence of owner characteristics on the access to bank financing in North Central Nigeria. Data were drawn from the primary source through the adaptation of World Bank and OECD Financial literacy questionnaires to elicit responses from the sampled SME owners/ managers in the study area. A sample of 280 SMEs was drawn from the population of 1030 SMEs. Descriptive statistics and binary logit regression model with Marginal effect were employed in analyzing the data. The study found that gender, personal networking and personal relationship with bank are the owner characteristics influencing access to bank finance among SMEs, significant at 0.05, 0.1 and 0.1 respectively, whereas owner’s age, education, experience, financial literacy and personal wealth do not have significant influence on access to bank finance among SMEs in the region. The study concluded that while all the identified owner’s characteristics are complementarily important in financial access, banks are more gender bias, value personal relationship and networking ability of firm owners. The study therefore, recommended among others, the need for SME owners to establish and maintain more undoubted relationships with their banks and form strong linkages with relevant stakeholders in the external environment for better resource exchange including financial access.
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