Bank of Ireland welcomes slight increase in demand for lending from SMEs

Bank of Ireland welcomes the findings of the latest SME Lending Demand Study which provides a robust independent review of the SME lending environment in Ireland.

Whilst the demand for credit from SMEs remains low, the Bank is however pleased to note an increase in the numbers of SMEs seeking credit facilities, up 2% from six months ago to 38%. A significant finding from the survey is that of the 62% who did not apply for finance in the period, the vast majority (78%) indicated it was because they did not require finance for their business.  Approval and decline levels for SMEs as indicated in the survey are broadly consistent with those experienced by Bank of Ireland.

Commenting on the findings Mark Cunningham Director, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said:  “The survey shows that performing businesses should not experience problems when seeking credit and this reflects our continued support for viable Irish SMEs. However, it is a concern for us that a significant number of SMEs still believe that banks are not lending. The fact that they are forming this view from the information they receive from the media, business groups or peers rather than their own experience needs to be recognised and countered.  We have been actively engaging with the business community in recent months through our Enterprise Week programme and our last event in May involved over 100 events nationwide, 80 free IT clinics hosted by Microsoft and provided over 2,000 business owners the opportunity to showcase their business in our branches.

”It is the Bank’s policy that all declined applicants are advised both verbally and in writing of their right to an internal review and of the full appeals process available to them, up to and including appeal to the Credit Review Office, we want to support viable SMEs to achieve their potential and welcome applications from existing and new customers”, concluded Mark Cunningham.

Bank of Ireland has also launched a major advertising campaign in recent weeks highlighting the availability of credit for SMEs and homeowners.