Business Irish

Saturday 21 October 2017

Bank lending remains tight, says watchdog

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Bank lending "remains tight", with AIB and Bank of Ireland willing to hand out money to low and medium-risk borrowers, but often ignoring higher risk but "bankable propositions", according to John Trethowan, the head of the Credit Review Office (CRO).

Since 2010, AIB and Bank of Ireland have, following CRO reviews of customer applications, approved €18.5m in credit that they had initially rejected, according to the watchdog. That helped to protect or create a total of 1,521 jobs, the CRO claims.

In the CRO's latest quarterly report, Mr Trethowan also said that he continues to hear from SMEs of unsatisfactory engagement at the customer interface level at financial institutions.

The CRO was established by the Government to help SMEs, sole traders or farm borrowers who've had applications for credit of up to €500,000 refused or reduced despite having what they believe to be a viable financial proposition. Such companies and individuals can appeal decisions to the review office.

CONDITIONS

The latest report also found that more appeals are being received in relation to requests that have been made for increased working capital and finance for business investment. Mr Trethowan said this is a direct result of improving confidence in the economy.

He also confirmed that economic recovery is happening fastest around major cities and conditions outside these areas "remain very challenging".

Since it was formed, the CRO has received 406 appeal applications. Of those, 272 reached a conclusion, with 55pc upheld in favour of borrowers.

The head of Chambers Ireland, Ian Talbot, yesterday called on the Government to bring all relevant banks operating here, not just AIB and Bank of Ireland, under the remit of the CRO.

Irish Independent

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