ISME report has no credible research, says banking expert
A LEADING banking expert has dismissed the latest quarterly banking report from the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association (ISME) as failing "to seek basic information" and having "little or no credible research".
ISME's quarterly banking review found that while overall numbers were down, there had been an improvement in accessing credit from banks. Despite the apparent increase in approvals, a large number of firms remained "reticent" about seeking credit, ISME said.
The association said 33pc of firms that applied for funding were unsuccessful, down from 42pc previously; while 68pc of respondents claimed the banks were making it harder for SMEs to get credit, compared to 83pc in the last survey.
Last night, however, the head of the Credit Review Office, John Trethowan, questioned ISME's reporting methods and added there was no evidence that banks were indiscriminately refusing loan and overdraft applications.
"The ISME survey fails to seek basic information on which to base such a commentary on current market conditions.
"There is little or no credible research or knowledge of the actual level of borrower demand, which all banks report as subdued.
"I have found no evidence that banks have been indiscriminately refusing credit on formal loan applications.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said he was surprised at Mr Trethowan's comments and defended his survey's legitimacy. "Our survey has been carried out for a long time and is reflective of our members' sentiments," he said.