The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has today released its latest Quarterly Bank Watch Survey for the second quarter of 2017.

The survey results show an improvement in time taken from decision to drawdown of credit and the demand for credit by businesses. However, the Association highlights its disappointment at the number of bank refusals this quarter. They believe refusal rates are too high and more progress is needed.

The survey shows that SME demand for bank credit has increased from 31% to 34% while loan refusal rates have increased from 23% to 28%. Of those surveyed, 52% stated that banks are making it more difficult to access finance.

Commenting on the results, ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said, “Access to finance is in the top three main concerns of SME owners, behind the cost of doing business and Brexit. While we welcome the increase in demand for credit, the increase in refusals from 23% to 28% is a matter of concern.”

He added, “Banks who decide not to provide capital to viable SMEs must apprise business owners of the reason for refusal, and of alternative sources of finance. The lack of awareness among bank staff of SBCI funds and the Credit Guarantee Scheme means that many SME businesses remain unaware of their existence. These alternative sources of finance options must be better promoted, as there is an onus on banks to inform loan applicants of their existence.”

Article Source: Business World