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Developments in enterprise credit in Ireland

The Bank published the 2017 H1 edition of the SME Market Report last week.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Gross new lending to non-financial, non-real estate SMEs continues to grow. Annualised new lending to Q1 2017 was €3.6bn, a 32 per cent increase since Q1 2016. By way of context, between 2010 and 2013 this number ranged between €2bn and €2.5bn.
  • Despite this growth in new lending, the outstanding stock of credit to SMEs continues to contract. In Q1 2017, the stock of SME credit declined to €16.6 bn, down 8.2 per cent from the previous year. This reflects the fact that loan repayments, loan sales and liquidations are still more than offsetting new lending flows.
  • The SME lending market remains highly concentrated, with the market share of the three main lenders in new bank lending flows being 82 per cent.
  • The current application rate for bank finance is 20 per cent, which is lower than at any point since 2011. However, the share of these applications going to new loan and overdraft facilities continues to grow, while the share going to renewal and restructuring of existing facilities continues to fall.
  • The rejection rate on SME loan applications has risen slightly in the last year for Micro and Small firms, but continues to fall for Medium-size firms.
  • The default rate on SME loans in Ireland is currently 18.7 per cent. This rate is highest in the Construction and the Hotels and Restaurants sectors, while it is lowest in the Agriculture, Manufacturing and the “Other Community, Social and Personal Services” sectors.
  • Irish SMEs continue to pay a significantly higher interest rate on bank credit than other euro area SMEs. The premium paid on small versus large loans in Ireland also continues to remain significantly higher than that in comparator countries.

Link to the report can be found here.