NTMA orders review of State lending body set up to help SMEs

EY to carry out review as new loans drawn down through SBCI slumped by 68% last year

Treasury Building, home of the NTMA. Photograph:Cyril Byrne

Treasury Building, home of the NTMA. Photograph:Cyril Byrne

 

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has appointed EY to carry out an external review of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

The NTMA estimates that the value of the contract is €120,000 and the agency expects the work to be carried out over an eight-week period.

The SBCI started lending in 2015 and after 4½ years in operation, it has committed €1.5 billion in lending and risk sharing facilities, which have enabled lending of more than €1 billion to over 26,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The primary objective of the SBCI is to provide flexible and easier to access funding here, in particular to SMEs, and to support competition to the SME lending market.

However, new loans drawn down through the SBCI slumped by 68 per cent last year to the lowest level since the State-owned organisation opened for business in 2015, as small companies became cautious about taking on new debt.

The tender states that as the fourth anniversary of the SBCI has now passed, “it is considered timely and opportune to engage in a third-party to undertake a review of the SBCI”.

A spokesman for the NTMA said on Tuesday: “The purpose of the review is to inform the SBCI’s future strategy and product development in a rapidly changing market and support the SBCI as it continues to assist Irish businesses in accessing SME-friendly finance.”