The Government needs to revisit establishing a State bank for SMEs. Ulster Bank are now exiting the Irish market leaving less competition for the consumer. Ulster Bank has about a 15 per cent share of the mortgage market, 20 per cent of SME lending and a strong corporate banking business.
“The Regional Group, which I am a member of have called on the Government to examine possible delivery mechanisms for community banking to be implemented in Ireland. This could be done through An Post or our local Credit Union network, as they have the infrastructure, facilities and visibility in our communities”.
“A new State bank offering low interest rates without personal guarantees needs to be established to support our businesses and our communities as we transition out of this pandemic. There needs to be a customer focused bank that will provide Green Finance to homeowners, landlords and businesses to invest in a sustainable future. Pre-pandemic SME interest rates were 2nd highest in Eurozone”.
“Before the pandemic 250,000 SMEs accounted for 99.8% of total enterprises. And 65% of total employees. SMEs are the answer to getting our Country back up and running again but they will need supports. They were the backbone of communities both urban and rural and will be again with the right backing”.
“It is now time to revisit the idea of a state bank as the Country and the banking environment is now very different”.
“Ulster Bank will gradually leave over the next few years and the Government needs to grasp opportunities as they arise and be innovative in their planning for our people, businesses and our existing structures such as An Post and the Credit Unions”.
“We previously had successful state banks in the Agriculture Credit Corporation and the Industrial Credit Corporation, but they were sold”.