New hope for Northern Irish SMEs with encouraging finance figures

21st August 2013

Almost two-thirds of small businesses in Northern Ireland who have applied for finance within the last three years were successful, according to a new study.
 
A survey by a business lobby group is expected to form part of a submission to be made to MPs at the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee.
 
Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA), said it was the first ever survey of the views on banking services from independent retailers throughout the North.
 
"65 per cent of those who have applied for finance within the last three years were successful, which suggests an improving trend given the difficult trading conditions in the last year," he said.
 
"However, banks still have some way to go … as 35 per cent were turned down for finance. We hope that when we repeat this survey next year there will be great improvement in this area."
 
The survey was conducted among 100 of NIIRTA’s members via telephone, in a bid to ascertain the progress the banking sector is making in service provision.
 
Further key facts to come out of the survey included 64 per cent of independent retailers operated with an overdraft, although a third of them were unhappy as their bank had unilaterally changed the terms of the overdraft.
 
More encouragingly, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of those surveyed insisted there had been no impact from the closure of bank branches.
 
Mr Roberts added: "Overall it appears from our survey of independent retailers, the banking sector is making progress in service provision.
 
"Banks have a key role to play in investing for recovery and [must] learn from mistakes and look to the future."

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