The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) which commenced operation on 24 October last was designed to be capable of facilitating up to €150m of additional lending per annum. For 2013 to date 4% of this capacity has been utilised with 49 loans facilitated, valued at €6.4 million. I intend to publish the 2nd quarter Progress Report on the Scheme on the Department’s website shortly. I expect this to show slow but real progress in comparison with the published Progress Report for 2012, where there were six live guaranteed facilities resulting in €582,000 being approved through the scheme.
From the outset, I have emphasised that the potential utilisation figures used are estimated and that the exact requirements of the Scheme would be demand led. Utilisation could be lower or higher depending on SME credit demand needs and to date this has been lower than expected. I would like to repeat today that the figure of €150 million is the maximum lending capacity. It is not a target for the Scheme.
When the Scheme was launched in October 2012, I made a commitment to review the Scheme after 12 months of operation. However, due to the low level of utilisation of the Scheme, I have brought forward the review process to examine ways to improve future performance and take-up. An external consultant will be selected very shortly to commence the formal review of the Scheme which I hope will be completed by end Quarter 3. Any changes to legislation arising from the review will take place after that date.