BoI ups SME lending by 18%

Demand for credit among the small business community is growing, with SMEs increasingly looking to use such funds for growth purposes, Bank of Ireland has claimed.

BoI ups SME lending by 18%

The bank — which is scheduled to report first half figures on Friday — has said that it approved approximately €2.5bn in new credit to SMEs during the first half of this year, representing a near 18% increase on the same period last year.

In its latest credit update, published this morning, BoI said the main growth is being seen in retail, hospitality, agriculture, property and the motor sector.

It said it received over 34,000 business banking credit applications in the first half, marking a year-on-year increase of 8% and a 17% rise on the 29,000 or so applications received in the second half of 2014.

“The positive growth trajectory was evident across all the key sectors of the economy in the first half of 2015, with increased demand for credit,” according to BoI’s director of business banking, Mark Cunningham. “Business owners are regaining the confidence to commit to overdue capital expenditure and are also tentatively considering new opportunities; a trend which we expect to accelerate as we move into 2016.”

Central Bank data shows that Bank of Ireland continues to be the main provider of new SME lending to the business market, with a 50%-plus share.

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