I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 87 together.
The Deputy will be aware that the Credit Reviewer said in his most recent quarterly report that “Both banks have achieved their €3.5bn SME loan sanction targets. Over €8bn was sanctioned in 2012; of which approx. €2.5bn (27%) is new lending drawn down.”
According to the Credit Review Office, the balance of the sanctioned lending represented restructured or refinanced credit to SMEs which the Credit Review Office in the past has noted is important in terms of sustaining the businesses and the associated jobs.
One of the most powerful ways of ensuring that the pillar banks provide credit to viable is the availability of the Credit Review process. The Credit Review Office can review decisions by the pillar banks to refuse, reduce or withdraw credit facilities, including applications for restructured credit facilities, from €1,000 up to €500,000. The Credit Review Office is currently overturning 55% of the refusal decisions referred to them and anyone who has been refused credit by the banks should avail of the services of the Credit Review Office.