SFA Welcomes Credit Review Office Report June

Friday, 14 June 2013


- SFA Welcomes Credit Review Office Report

- Support for entrepreneurial risk takers required

- SME Loan Restructuring a challenge


A key challenge moving forward is for the banking sector to effect real and meaningful debt restructuring where there is a substantive viable core business. Avine McNally, Acting Director, SFA.

The Small Firms Association has welcomed the report from John Trethowan, of the Credit Review Office, and supported the call for an extension to the limit at which SMEs can appeal refusals for credit to €3m, however they echoed the disappointment that there was not more evidence of support for “enterprise risk taking” lending.

Avine McNally, Acting Director, SFA said, “This report clearly shows that the pillar banks are open for business. We now need to see them lending to more challenging but viable entrepreneurial businesses to ensure they can access the credit they require to create sustainable businesses and employment.”

A key challenge moving forward is for the banking sector to effect real and meaningful debt restructuring where there is a substantive viable core business. “While lending solutions must be found to allow SMEs deal with their legacy debt, we must ensure that in this process viable business are supported to ensure survival.”

This is not an easy process to undertake, as it will require not alone financial and banking skills, but will require knowledge of the business sector and environment and an appetite for enterprise risk,” commented McNally.

McNally highlighted that the front line experience is still an issue, “banks still have a long way to go in standardising customer experience at branch level. It is critical in rebuilding the small business banking relationship, that communications are improved, that clarity is given around decision-making rationale and that process targets of 100% of applications being dealt with in 15 days and all declines being informed of their right of internal appeal and external appeal to the Credit Review Office, are achieved in the next 6 months”, said McNally.

SFA expressed concerns at the reduced number of banks competing in the small business market, which will prove damaging to small business over time. “The Government must make efforts to bring in other financial institutions into the Irish market”, said McNally.

In conclusion, McNally said “27% of our members view access to credit as a key priority in 2013. Their survival and the jobs they provide will depend on a properly functioning business banking market returning. This must remain a key pillar of Government policy delivery”.

Ends.

For further comment, please contact: Avine McNally, Acting Director, SFA Tel 01 605 1633 or 087 645 02 05.
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