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ISME slams Credit Review Office performance

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has reacted with disappointment to the third quarterly report of the Credit Review Office (CRO), which was issued today.

It said the fact that only 30 cases were completed in 10 months confirms that companies are ignoring the process.

The association said its members had confirmed the reasons for the very low usage, including;

> Perception of process as just another layer of bureaucracy

> A fear of ruining already fragile banking relationships

> Process seen as part of a discredited bank system, headed, staffed and funded by bankers.

According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “the proof that the CRO is not working is the paltry 30 cases completed in 10 months, at a time when small business is struggling to get bank finance. Small business has shown its ‘faith and trust’ in the process by ignoring it”.

“The tone and tenor of this latest report would suggest that the lack of credit is the fault of SMEs rather than the banks.

"This is redolent of the type of utterances from the banking sector and not the words of an office ostensibly in place to assist and advise small business”.

ISME research shows that while there has been a slight improvement in SME lending, one third of business applicants are still being refused credit.

The Association called on the CRO to ‘up its game’ in assisting these companies to get access to badly needed credit, rather that being seen as the banks’ public relations organ.

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