The Irish SME Association (ISME) yesterday released its quarterly Bank Watch survey for the fourth quarter of 2018. The results show a decrease in loan refusal rates, decreasing from 29% to 12%.
The report shows that demand for credit remains high at 30%. Waiting time from decision to drawdown is on average 8 weeks. The Association highlights the need for more credit to be made available to SMEs and the length of time it’s taking for SMEs to access finance. The Association has called for banks to promote the SBCI funds in a more coordinated manner.
Forty five percent of respondents had cause to be concerned about bank fees and charges and 57% state that the Government is having either a negative or no impact on SME lending compared to 63% in the previous Quarter.
Speaking this week, ISME CEO Neil McDonnell said, "While a decrease in loan refusal rates is welcome, demand for credit remained high in last quarter of 2018. Without sufficient access to finance many businesses will struggle. It remains unacceptable to have a business waiting on average 8 weeks from decision to drawdown. The fact many businesses are waiting more than 10 weeks from permission to drawdown has a negative impact on the SME sector. This type of delay is starving already cash-strapped SMEs."
He added, "Bank Charges have been identified are a particular cause of concern for the SME sector in this research. The fact that 10%of SMEs are paying €2,500-€5,000 and 11% pay between €5,000-€10,000 every year inbank fees is a major cause of concern."