Guide to help SMEs rebuild bank link

THE Government has launched a 17-page guide it claims will help small firms access credit and rebuild relationships with the banks.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe said the guide — entitled ‘Your Business, Your Bank’ and compiled by the Credit Supply Clearing Group — will “bring clarity to the challenges facing viable small businesses and help them to get credit to protect and create jobs.”

“The guide outlines various funding options open to businesses, provides an insight into what banks are looking for when examining credit applications, imparts information on credit pricing and reveals practical tips on how to package credit applications,” the minister said.

Recent figures from the Central Bank showed that on a year-on-year basis bank lending to the SME sector fell by just over 5% over the course of the first half of 2010; with approximately two-thirds of credit applications, from small business, relating to general working capital.

“Before 2008, most credit applications were for loans for new capital investments but the severe economic downturn has brought about a dramatic shift in that trend. This guide is timely in setting out the funding options for small businesses, outlining how they can access the kind of credit they need, and drawing together multiple stakeholders across Government and the enterprise community towards the common cause of recovery in the domestic economy,” Minister O’Keeffe added.

He said the Government, through the Credit Review Office (CRO), is sustaining pressure on banks to deliver on the strong commitments given in their plans to support viable small businesses, the bedrock of the indigenous economy.

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