Issued Monday, 20th October, 2014: Bank of Ireland has announced new credit approvals to SMEs to the end of September 2014 of €3.2 billion, up c.18% on the same period last year. The €3.2 billion figure includes new and increased lending, and does not include restructures.
More than 46,000 credit applications were received by the Bank to the end of September, an 8% increase when compared with last year. In addition, the Bank is approving c.87% of SME credit applications. The Bank is sustaining a market share of more than 50% of all new non-property lending to the SME and agri sectors.
The agri, motor and retail sectors are showing signs of continued growth during this period. Strong performance continues in the motor sector as the number of new cars sold is now nearing 95,000, an increase of 30% on this time last year. Of particular note is the fact that commercial vehicles are already up over 45% and will exceed the 15,000 sold last year.
Commenting Michael Lauhoff, Head of Business Banking Growth, Bank of Ireland said: “We continue to see encouraging signs that the Irish economy remains on a growth trajectory, with a number of factors underpinning this such as an improvement in consumer confidence, and an increase in employment and tax receipts exceeding expectations. Recent figures are showing that the domestic economy is growing with consumer spending increasing year on year. Positive figures for consumer sentiment and retail sales suggest a continuing recovery in the consumer economy and revised figures are anticipating a greater increase in GDP than previously expected. Our own figures show that retail sector performance continues to be strong with approvals up by c. 50%.
“Although there is considerable volatility in commodity prices, particularly in the beef sector, the dairy market continues to expand and preparations are now well advanced countrywide to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the abolition of the milk quota with the agri land market being particularly active. We continue to approve funding for the purchase of over 400 acres of land per week.
“As we enter the busiest quarter of the year, we are confident that our credit approvals will continue to increase in line with demand. We have very ambitious growth plans for our business which is demonstrated by our financial target to lend c. €21 billion into businesses and the economy up to 2017 and our ongoing comprehensive enterprise programme of activity throughout the country” concluded Michael Lauhoff.