New lending to SMEs increased in first half of year.
Delays in bank decisions still a concern.
ISME, Friday 5TH September 2014.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has welcomed the confirmation from the Central Bank that lending to some SME sectors has increased in the second quarter of the year. The Association drew attention to the recent ISME Bank Watch Survey (2nd Sept), which saw an increase in demand and a reduction in the bank refusal rate.
Commenting on the figures, ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding said, “While the Central Bank has issued a note of caution in the interpretation of their figures, the fact that €400 million (excl. Agricultural) was drawn down in new loans to SMEs during the second quarter is encouraging and represents a 31% increase on the previous year’s figures”. “While ‘one swallow never made a summer’ we are hopeful that our bailed-out banks are finally returning to ‘normal’ lending to viable SMEs, which have been starved of bank credit for the past six years. The success rate for SME lending applications has increased and must be welcomed. However, the one ‘fly in the ointment’ is the delays by the bailed-out banks in making decisions, which must be improved immediately, as hold-ups of over 6 weeks, due to incompetent bankers can delay the growth plans of business”, Fielding concluded.