'SMEs need support from the credit union sector'
CREDIT Unions should have a greater role in supporting small and medium-sized businesses, an Oireachtas report has claimed
It also called for commercial lending regulations imposed on certain credit unions by the Central Bank to be eased.
A series of recommendations was published yesterday by the Jobs committee to help boost access to finance for SMEs.
TDs and senators also called for independent verification of lending rates to SMEs by the banks to be carried out, as well as the development of non-bank funding initiatives.
Business lobby groups welcomed the recommendations. The Small Firms Association said supply of finance is second only to finding more customers as the most pressing issue being faced by companies.
"It is critical that the practical recommendations contained in this report are accepted and acted upon immediately," said SFA director Patricia Callan.
"They have the potential to make a real difference to improving SME financing."
The committee's report said there was an over-reliance on bank loans and overdrafts and the development of non-banking sector funding initiatives to fund growth in the SME sector should be strongly encouraged.