The Minister for Small Business, John Perry, T.D., will today [Monday] Chair a private meeting in The Strand Hotel Limerick with invited representatives of the local and regional business community to discuss the demand for bank credit and to exchange views on access to credit for SMEs.
This is the eight in a series of regional meetings being held by Minister Perry along with John Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance. The meeting will be attended by representatives of business, the banks and the State sector.
The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D., will open the meeting and will speak to representatives on the steps that the Government are taking to ensure access to credit to the SME sector and encourage participant to put forward their ideas, suggestions and concerns.
Minister Perry said “These meetings will provide a platform for an open exchange of views and genuine engagement between key stakeholders. The meetings will explore the findings of the Mazars Survey on Credit Demand published late last year by the Department of Finance and will discuss any further suggestions for actions that might be taken to improve access to credit for SMEs”.
“Government has taken a range of actions to recapitalise the banks in order to get them fit for purpose and functioning properly in order to support our enterprise sector. Ensuring the availability of credit to viable SMEs has been central to all the initiatives taken. This has included specific SME lending targets for the pillar banks which they have being achieving to date. The recapitalisation process introduced by the Minister for Finance has ensured that there is sufficient capacity available within the pillar banks to meet forecasted SME demand from viable businesses”.
Minister Noonan stated: "This Government recognises the vital importance of the small business sector to the economy and fully accepts that it will have a vital role to play in the recovery of the Irish economy. I believe it is vitally important that, as a Government, we communicate on an ongoing basis what we are doing for small business and that we hear first-hand what issues need to be addressed more urgently and what measures can be considered to further support small business.
“The purpose of these regional meetings is to enable representatives to put forward ideas, suggestions and concerns on access to bank lending. Minister Perry, John Moran and officials from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Finance are here to listen to the views and experiences of local business representative groups, local bank representatives and state agencies on access to bank lending. The ideas, suggestions and concerns put forward today, and in the seven other meetings held to date, will complement the information provided by the Mazars survey and ensure that ongoing and future Government policies on credit to SMEs are based on as much information as possible."
Minister Perry noted, however, that many SMEs still had concerns about accessing bank credit and many hold the view that the banks are not open for SME lending.
“These regional meetings should facilitate an open discussion on this critically important issue and provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to a broader understanding of the credit landscape.
“Involving all stakeholders will better inform Government when considering if any further initiatives may be required”.
Concluding Minister Perry said: “The Government is committed to supporting our SME sector in every way to develop their business, increase exports, create jobs and rebuild the economy. I am pleased to see that the Action Plan for Jobs reflects many of the issues that are of concern to the small business sector, which have been highlighted by me as Minister for Small Business to Government.
“It takes on board a number of recommendations from the Advisory Group for Small Business which I Chair. The Group’s Report was launched last November. The issue of access to credit for small businesses is a matter of priority and is explicitly addressed in the Action Plan in the context of the Micro-enterprise Loan Fund and the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme and in the range of actions listed to encourage and measure bank lending.”