The SME Market Report for 2019 finds that:
- Gross new lending to SMEs declined 1.7 per cent in the year to 2018 Q4, driven by ‘Manufacturing’, ‘Wholesale, Retail, Trade and Repairs’ and ‘Primary Industries’, with increases elsewhere.
- Market share among the top three banks is high at 90.3 per cent of new SME lending and concentration in the flow of new lending has stabilised since Q2 2016.
- Credit demand remains low compared to previous years with 20 per cent of SMEs applying for credit in the period April – September 2018. A large majority of Micro, Small and Medium firms finance investment from internal funds.
- Working capital remains the most common reason for credit applications among micro and small firms, whereas credit for growth & expansion is more common among medium firms.
- Irish SMEs are more reliant on leasing and hire purchase for investment activities than the EU average but are less reliant on bank loans.
- Rejection rates on bank finance applications have tended to stabilise recently.
- Interest rates on small NFC loans in Ireland are on average 5.7 per cent. Similar size loans are on average 2.5 per cent in other parts of Europe.
- SME default rates have declined from 19.8 per cent in December 2017 to 17.5 per cent in June 2018.
- SME transitions into default over the period December 2017 to June 2018 were 2 per cent.