European Central Bank to Carry Out Stress Tests on SME Loans:
Small businesses employ 7 out of 10 people in Ireland. They also provide vital services to other businesses and the retail consumer. The enterprising people who create and maintain these businesses do alot for their communities, industry and country.
News that the European Central Bank is to carry out stress tests on the SME loans appearing on bank balance sheets means that many of these crucial community enterprises are in danger of disappearing.
The ECB has made it known that bank lenders need to ‘sort out’ underperforming loans to small business owners.
I am very concerned that if the Irish banks act in a blunt and short-sighted manner many viable Wicklow businesses will go under. That’s not just one decent person’s livelihod on the line. Their family’s income and the jobs of their colleagues will vanish too.
Our laws provide recovery solutions for viable businesses in need of breathing space from creditors -through examinership and schemes of arrangement. Many small business owners lack the resources to access these protections for their businesses. Will the banks take a mature and long term approach when dealing with these struggling entrepreuners? Or will they simply check the arrears, consult internal procedures, foreclose on the business and ‘tick the box’ – job done?
I am calling on the Government to stand up for small business and the thousands of Wicklow jobs that are in real danger of disappearing if a reckless approach is taken by bank lenders. Where it is clear that a breathing space or a restructuring of terms can enable a hardworking businessperson keep going and realise their potential I believe more should be done to make that happen.