Bank of Ireland SME lending up 18%

Some €1.9 billion in business loans approved in first six months of 2013

Bank of Ireland has reported an 18 per cent rise in loan approvals for SMEs for the first half of 2013.

Loans worth €1.9 billion were approved during the first half of the year, representing a 18 per cent jump on the same period in 2012.

Director of business banking Mark Cunningham said the bank was providing almost 50 per cent of all non-property lending to SMEs in Ireland.

“Whilst we clearly have more to do, these figures show that we are making progress,” he said.

More than 1,000 loan applications were received from SMEs each week this year, with 84 per cent of all applications approved.

The agriculture sector has shown the strongest demand for new lending in the first half of 2013, while the motor market has slumped, falling 20 per cent year on year. However, the bank said early indications of July 132 plates are promising.

The Government has imposed a €4 billion SME lending target for 2013 on both Bank of Ireland and AIB.