Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (161)

John Lyons

Question:

161. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if there has been an increase in applications to the Credit Review Office since the decision to increase the upper limit of the decline loan amount to €3 million; and the number of applications received overall in 2013 by that office. [4855/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, in Budget 2014 I announced an increase in the limit for loan applications that can be reviewed by the Credit Review Office (CRO) from €500,000 to €3m. This increase will facilitate requests from a broader range of SMEs, as well as assisting those borrowers currently banked with non-trading banks and banks which are strategically exiting the Irish SME lending market, whose refinancing requests are larger than €500,000.

I am informed by the CRO that there has not yet been a significant increase in applications since the upper limit increased to €3m in October 2013. However, this may be due to seasonality - the level of applications in November and December tends to be lower than the rest of the year. The total number of eligible applications received by the CRO for formal review in 2013 was 107. The CRO is currently overturning 55% of the refusal decisions referred to them and I would encourage SMEs that have been refused credit by the banks to avail of the services of the Office.