Reproduced from The Irish Independent
By Colm Kelpie
14 November 2014

More than eight in ten SMEs have reported increased or stable turnover, a government-backed survey has found.

The SME Credit Demand Survey found that trading conditions continue to improve for small and medium-sized businesses, with 84pc of companies surveyed responding that turnover has increased or remained stable. Some 30pc said they have increased staff.

The survey was carried out among 1,500 businesses between April and September.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that despite the improving conditions, demand for credit remains low at 31pc of the 1,500 surveyed.

“Crucially, the approval rate by the banks has continued to improve with 86pc of applications approved when ‘pending applications’ are excluded,” Mr Noonan said.

“Small businesses that are refused credit should avail of the services of the Credit Review Office, which is overturning approximately 56pc of cases referred to them,” he added.

The survey found that belief among businesses that banks are lending is growing, standing at 56pc, up from 39pc in September last year.

Mr Noonan said AIB, Bank of Ireland and Bibby Financial Services have all confirmed that they are working with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, which was set up to provide loans under favourable terms, via the banks, to SMEs.

Irish Independent

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