Thursday 17 April 2014

Boost as SME sector improves and confidence grows

But some firms still having problems getting banks to lend to them

Michael Noonan

THE SMALL and medium-sized business sector has recorded an improvement in trading conditions for the six months ended September while confidence is growing, the results of a new survey show.

The survey, conducted by Red C on behalf of the Department of Finance, showed that 72pc of SMEs survey, an increase of 10pc, said that turnover had increased or remained stable while 21pc added on staff.

Despite the improvement in conditions, demand for credit remains low with less than two in five of the 1,500 SMEs surveyed applying for loans in the six months.

The survey also showed that there is room for improvement in terms of of bank lending although the approval rate has improved with four out of every five applications approved when "pending applications" are removed.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan welcomed the report and said: "The SME sector is a key driver of growth and jobs across the Irish economy and there are signs in the survey results that confidence is growing among SMEs and their customers.

The report was broadly welcomed by Chambers Ireland which said the increased credit approval rate was good news for SMEs.

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