Small and medium businesses urged to consider non-bank finance options
Ireland's SMEs have been urged to consider alternative funding options as official data suggests that as much as a third of small firms chose to go to banks.
The Central Statistics Office said 21.4pc of all SMEs opted for bank finance in 2014, with the figure at 20pc for micro enterprises, 35pc for small firms and almost 40pc of mid-sized enterprises.
The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) said Irish SMEs are more dependent on banks than SMEs in other countries.
"Irish SMEs have been paying more to borrow than similar businesses across Europe," said SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore.
"The SBCI is addressing this by introducing new low-cost, SME-friendly financing options to the Irish market and Irish SMEs should look at the growing number of financing options - both bank and non-bank - to see what best suits their needs."
The SBCI recently teamed up with two non-bank lenders - Finance Ireland and Merrion Fleet - to provide a new range of low-cost SME financing options such as leasing, hire purchase and fleet finance.
More than half, 50.1pc, of all applications for bank finance indicated that the finance was to be used as working capital. Nearly 40pc of applications for other types of finance and over a third of applications for equity finance specified the need for working capital.
Other reasons for seeking finance included investment in property, intangibles and export growth.
Meanwhile, almost half of business leaders who responded to a survey by Mazars said confidence has fallen since the election. Some 49pc of respondents said their business confidence has decreased since the election, compared to 2pc who said it had increased