The Deputy will be aware that the Credit Review Office recently published its eleventh report in which the Credit Reviewer stated that he had asked that the threshold be raised to €3 million. The Deputy will also be aware that I published an assessment of the Credit Review Office late last year which contained a number of recommendations to make the CRO more effective in encouraging and increasing the supply of credit to SMEs. One of these recommendations was to increase the resources of the CRO and I sanctioned the appointment of additional reviewers at budget time last year. The recent CRO report also stated that the procurement process for additional reviewers has been completed and that the implementation of the remaining recommendations in the assessment within the CRO’s remit would follow the training of these reviewers.
In looking at the implementation of other recommendations, my officials have also been considering where the CRO should fit into the overall strategy of ensuring credit availability for viable SMEs and the level of the threshold is one aspect of this strategy. I expect that the deliberative process on the strategy will conclude shortly.