New lending to SMEs jumps as savers see return on deposits fall

Lending advanced by 32% in Q2 but loan repayments continue to outpace new lending

Ireland’s small businesses saw an uptick in available credit in the second quarter of the year, but savers continue to struggle to make a return on their money due to low term deposit rates.

According to new figures from the Central Bank, new lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) advanced by 32 per cent in the second quarter of 2015, driven by increased lending to the motor trade. However, the scale of loan repayments continues to outpace new lending, which means that outstanding loans actually fell by 9.6 per cent in the year to June 2015.

New lending to non-financial, non-property related SMEs advanced by 31 per cent to € 2.7 billion over the twelve month period to end June, while new lending to property-related SMEs reached €178m, the highest recorded since Q4 2011.

Interest charged on SME loans also fell, down by 25 basis points to 4.9 per cent.


Meanwhile, figures from the Central Bank also show that the average interest rate charged on mortgages came to 4.13 per cent in Q2, broadly unchanged from the first quarter, with new business fixed rates still below standard variable rates. However, recent rate cuts from KBC and Ulster Bank will likely see this metric fall in future surveys.

Rates on outstanding tracker mortgages, which account for almost half of all housing loans, were 1.05 and 1.02 per cent for principal dwelling and buy-to-let loans respectively, at the end of Q2.

The figures also show that savers are stuck with low interest rates, with term deposit rates falling further in July.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times