The First Basel Capital Accord, implemented in 1988, was aimed at ensuring the soundness and stability of the international banking system. The new accord, Basel II, which is planned for implementation in December 2006, is intended to strengthen the framework for dealing with credit risk. This book provides an informative analysis of what Basel II means for the small and medium-sized enterprize (SME) sector in Europe and its impact on its credit financing conditions. It also presents a detailed analysis of how banks formulate an internal rating system and illustrates how this system works in practice. Finally, it concludes with the key measures that should be taken by banks, SMEs, and public policymakers to improve financing in the new rating culture.