ABOUT two-thirds of small businesses in Northern Ireland who have applied for finance within the last three years were successful, a survey has found.
The findings of the study by a business lobby group will form part of a submission to be made to MPs at the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee.
Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the (NIITRA), said it was the first ever survey of the views on banking services from independent retailers across Northern Ireland.
"Sixty-five per cent of those who have applied for finance within the last three years were successful, which suggests an improving trend given the difficult trading conditions in the last year," he said.
"However, banks still have some way to go . . . as 35pc were turned down for finance.
"We hope that when we repeat this survey next year there will be great improvement in this area."
The survey was conducted among 100 of NIIRTA's members by telephone.
Other findings include:
* 64pc had an overdraft – with a third of them unhappy as their bank had unilaterally changed the conditions.
* 76pc said there has been no impact from the closure of bank branches with 24pc saying they have been affected.
* 62pc have a company credit card.
"Overall it appears from our survey of independent retailers, the banking sector is making progress in service provision," Mr Roberts said.
"Banks have a key role to play in investing for recovery and [must] learn from mistakes and look to the future."