Banks' treatment of firms criticised

Fri, Jun 29, 2012, 01:00

PEOPLE ARE not reporting the banks to the Credit Review Office because of the reputation of the former in past times, Mattie McGrath (Ind) claimed in the Dáil.

He said the banks had not lived up to promises made to provide funding for small businesses.

“Many of these businesses have a small overdraft, earned with their sweat and blood over the years, which may amount to €25,000,” he added. “The banks are calling in those overdrafts.”

Businesses could not pay cash without an overdraft facility and could not afford the delivery of goods. The banks were calling in their clients to inform them they were removing overdraft facilities and offering a term loan instead.

“I wonder why they cannot be stopped and the practice exposed,” he added.

Mr McGrath said that while employees made redundant received social welfare, the employer got nothing. He added that a man in his Tipperary South constituency had telephoned him because the sheriff was due to come to his house again this week.

“This person does not have enough to eat,” said Mr McGrath. “I appeal to the Minister to call off the hounds.”

People who had once run small businesses were now penniless and hungry. The community welfare service would not help them because they had so-called assets.

“In fact, they have no assets because they are worthless,” Mr McGrath added. “The last thing they need is a sheriff threatening and intimidating them.”

He said small businesses, including shopkeepers, small farmers and farriers, often in the family for generations, were the backbone of communities.

Mr McGrath was speaking in the resumed debate on the Micro Enterprise Loan Fund Bill 2012.

Welcoming the Bill, Cork North West TD Áine Collins (FG) said it was another step by the Government to put in place initiatives to sustain small businesses. It would also encourage people to set up much-needed new businesses.

Ms Collins said it was important to ensure, as the Irish Banking Federation suggested, that the scheme be up and running by autumn.