Credit Unions must be allowed lend to SMEs if the current barriers to such businesses obtaining finance are to be overcome.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne, who is calling on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Access to Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises report.
The report, by the Oireachtas Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Committee, is the culmination of 11 days of hearings attended by stakeholders, including business representative groups, financial institutions, State agencies, unions, and SMEs.
The report contains 25 recommendations on issues such as lending, barriers to credit flow, the role of credit unions and a State investment bank among others, including the introduction of independent verification of lending rates by the Central Bank and measures to empower credit unions to lend to SMEs.
“Nationally there are 189,000 SMEs employing over 1.2 million people,” said Dep Kyne, who called for credit unions to be allowed led to SMEs during the Oireachtas hearings. “SMEs are present in every village, town, city and county and are essential to balanced economic development and integral to a sustainable economic recovery.”
However the difficulties for SMEs in securing finance remains a serious problem. Dep Kyne though sees the report as offering the Government “an effective way of assisting small and medium sized enterprises in Galway and the West”.