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Bank Of Ireland Reveals SME Lending Data

Bank of Ireland (BOI) says that credit approvals to SMEs for H1 2014 totalled €2.1bn at the bank. Around 32,000 SME credit applications were approved from January to the end of June, up 7% year on year.

According to BOI, its credit approval rating is now over 85%, with increased activity recorded in the motor, agri and property sectors. The agri sector, which will see the abolition of milk quotas in April of next year, has been particularly active, says the bank, with applications and approvals from the sector steadily increasing.

Bank of Ireland also reported that there has been a strong uplift in the overall motor market, with growth of 28% in the first half of the year. New business in the commercial motor market has grown strongly in the first six months of 2014 compared with 2013, with the overall market for light commercial and heavy commercial vehicles up by 37% and 42% respectively on the same period last year.

The bank says that the strong performance in the year to date in the motor market, whilst coming from a low base, tends to be a lead indicator and reflects the re-emergence of consumer and business confidence.

Property-related approvals have also increased in BOI, following increased activity in 2013 in the commercial property market. While yields are compressing there remains strong demand for well located, good quality properties.

According to Michael Lauhoff, head of business banking growth in Bank of Ireland, some of the increased SME activity is down to competitors leaving the market. However, he adds that the bank is also seeing signs of renewed investment in key sectors of the economy.

“The re-emergence of consumer and business confidence, evidenced by the number of new cars on the roads in the first half of the year, should drive further growth for the remainder of the year,” says Lauhoff.

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