Thursday 14 December 2017

Positive report due on lending conditions

Peter Flanagan

THE head of the body reviewing loans to small businesses is expected to say that lending has improved and banks remain on track with their lending targets when he announces the results of his latest quarterly review today.

John Trethowan, who leads the Credit Review Office (CRO), will reveal details of the lending practices of the major banks to small and medium enterprises over the third quarter of last year. Lending conditions are said to have improved since the publication of the last report before Christmas.

The CRO reviews credit applications that have been refused by the banks but are being contested by the applicant.

These reviews are carried out on loans that have already gone through the bank's own internal appeals process. The CRO is effectively the final decider on potential applications.

It is thought that up to 50 cases are now being looked at by Mr Trethowan and his team of 10 "experienced bankers" who, in the words of Mr Trethowan, "can smell money" when reviewing a company's loan application.

The CRO has agreed to publish details of the actions taken on all of these cases. It is thought AIB and Bank of Ireland both remain on track to hit their lending targets of €3bn each over the next two years.

Mr Trethowan's office is said to be in the "unique position" of being able to go into the banks and review their books personally, so his team has a much greater ability to make informed decisions on each application.

Irish Independent

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