Level 3 Certificate in SME Lending and Alternative Data (CSME)

Global Learning qualifications

Certificate in SME Lending and Alternative Data Level 3 (CSME)

Stay ahead of the curve. Upskill your teams in SME lending and alternative data


About the qualification 

Alternative data is transforming SME lending across the globe. In both mature and emerging markets, it offers the opportunity to bridge the credit gap, expanding access to finance for small businesses and increasing portfolios.

Knowing how to harness its power can be challenging - lenders can be unsure of what data to use, and how to use it responsibly without increasing risk.

Our Certificate is the first to combine SME Lending procedures with rigorous alternative data analysis. It helps your teams build the expertise and skills required to use alternative data effectively, and make better judgements about lending appetite and which SMEs to support.

Your teams will gain

  • A strong understanding of alternative lending techniques and how they can be deployed
  • Knowledge of how to successfully devise tailored solutions for your SME clients
  • The skill required to adapt lending techniques to meet the needs of the market environment
  • The ability to confidently utilise data and information from a range of sources to make financial decisions and recommendations
  • Knowledge of how to actively monitor, control and manage problem loans and risks
  • An advanced understanding of how to interpret financial ratios and numerical data

How this benefits you

Reduces risk

Create the opportunity for more robust, consistent, cost efficient, faster and safer credit lending decisions from your teams.

Increases sales

Avoid the roadblocks that traditional credit analysis can lead to. New, alternative data models allow your teams to develop their loan books and grow the business in sustainable manner, setting your bank apart from your competitors.

Empowers your workforce

Our practical qualification will ensure your teams are engaged and knowledgeable about current and emerging trends. Their learning experience will be tailored to meet your organisation’s needs, aligning to your internal strategies.

 Registration fee


 (e-learning and exam entry) 
 Start date  On demand
 When to apply? CSME is on demand, apply anytime
Number of units             2
Average time to complete 4-6 months
Study type  Self-study, distance learning
Classroom sessions available for your team on request at an additional cost
Study material
  • Online access via MyLIBF to learning materials and to KnowledgeBank (virtual library)
  • unit syllabuses
  • specimen paper
  • student handbook
  • ask-the-expert forum
  • regional case studies.

You will be learning on our new VLE Brightspace, click on the logo to find out more.
Assessment type 3 hour single multiple-choice exam, consisting of a combination of individual and scenario based questions

Once you’ve passed you’ll receive a digital certificate. A paper copy can also be ordered for an additional fee.
Assessment provider Pearson VUE test centres nationwide, or through remote invigilation

                                                 View the qualification specification


Unit 1 – SME Lending and Alternative Data

Your team will gain a deep understanding of the SME market and how alternative data is having a transformative effect. They will explore traditional lending practices and products and how alternative lending techniques can enhance the decision-making process and optimise business outcomes.  To best appreciate how these new methodologies can be successfully deployed in practice, your team will examine a variety of case studies from around the globe.

Unit 2 - Providing Solutions to SME Customers

In this unit, your team will be challenged to apply their understanding of lending practices. Assessment is scenario based multiple-choice question case studies, that will demonstrate their lending decision making skills. This will require a fully considered client solution that considers the global principles of SME lending, evaluates the use of available and alternative data, embeds risk migration methods and identifies the signs of deteriorating credit.

Are you eligible for an exemption?

If you have qualifications from us or another awarding organisation, we may be able to count them as credits.

Find out more


CSME is assessed in a single three-hour exam:

  • Unit 1 content is assessed through a 50 question multiple-choice questions
  • Unit 2 content is assessed through 4 case study exercises each with 5 multiple-choice questions

A total of 70 marks are available in the examination where you will be assessed on all areas of the syllabus.  The pass mark for each unit is 60%.  A pass in both units is required to achieve the certificate.

You can choose when to take your CSME exam and pick from test centres nationwide or through remote invigilation.

Find out how to book your exam 

SME leanding and data

Request further information