Credit review sees SMEs get €1.77m

INTERVENTION by the Credit Review Office has resulted in €1.77 million in credit being made available to small firms who otherwise would have gone out of business.

This led to the preservation of 223 jobs since the office, led by John Treth-owan, was established over 12 months ago.

Of 76 cases brought before Mr Trethowan, he found in favour of 23 small firms, while 22 decisions by the two banks covered by the study, AIB and Bank of Ireland to refuse credit, were upheld.

The other cases are still ongoing and are at various stages in the review process.

The two banks also exceeded the €6 billion lending target for the year to March 31, having lent a combined €8bn between them.

They were given a two year target of €12bn in new lending to support the Irish business community.

Mr Trethowan said the outcomes of the review process “indicate the potential for such a scheme.

However, ISME said the “paltry number” of cases reviewed showed a “lack of faith” in the system.

ISME’s head of research, Jim Curran, said: “The Credit Review Office, introduced as an appeal mechanism, is not working, as evidenced by the paltry number of cases, six applications a month referred, during a time when small business is struggling.”

ISME claimed that last year only 55% of companies that applied to banks for loan finance were successful.

While Mr Trethowan accepted that ISME’s figures were out of line with consultancy group Mazars, it was likely the figures from ISME and others reflect those who did not have their lending demands met.

“People who have been given credit will be the ones who come forward,” he said.

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