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Lending to SME sector is rising - Central Bank


The Central Bank, Dame Street, Dublin

The Central Bank, Dame Street, Dublin

The Central Bank, Dame Street, Dublin

Lending to non-property related SMEs was 4.8pc higher in the first three months of this year than the same period in 2015, official figures show.

The Central Bank said lending is overwhelmingly being done by the three main banks.

Loan performance is improving.

The number of small and medium-sized businesses with bad debt has fallen.

Just over a quarter of outstanding SME debt was in default in the first quarter, down from 41pc in 2013.

The amount of SMEs applying for bank credit has fallen from 30pc to 26pc since the last report.

"Declines are observed across all SME size categories, but are particularly large for medium SMEs," the Central Bank's latest SME market report found.

The report states that rejection rates are also falling.

Across all finance types, the rejection rate has slipped to 11pc from 15pc, and are now in line with the Eurozone average, the Central Bank said.

But the report makes the point that interest rates on non-financial corporation loans under €250,000 remain high relative to Eurozone averages.

Former Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan, in one of his final addresses before retiring last year, said interest rates for small and medium-sized businesses had come down everywhere in Europe, except Ireland.

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