Friday 15 December 2017

Central Bank launches new SME lending rules

The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin
The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin

Paul O'Donoghue

Small and medium businesses will get greater transparency around loan applications and provided with reasons why they were declined credit if refused, under new rules announced yesterday.

These are some of the changes introduced by the Central Bank's new regulations for firms lending to SMEs.

Regulated lenders other than credit unions must comply with the new rules from the start of July. Credit unions must follow the regulations from January 1, 2017.

The Central Bank defines an SME as an enterprise which has fewer than 250 staff, turnover at or below €50m and €43m or less on its balance sheet.

Among the other provisions introduced is a requirement for lenders to contact borrowers who are in arrears for 15 working days, in order to identify the reason why. Borrowers will be entitled to an internal appeal of a decision made by a firm. Lenders will be required to have an internal Appeals Panel for this purpose.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that banking giant Credit Suisse received approval to open an Irish branch that will serve global hedge funds.

Bloomberg reported that Credit Suisse is the first non-European Union lender to gain authorisation to operate a branch here.

The move is part of Credit Suisse' plan to shift some so called prime brokerage services out of London - which involves providing services including some lending to hedge funds.

According to the 'Financial Times', the company intends to move around 100 staff from London to Dublin, including 40 traders.

Irish Independent

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