13 May 2009

ISME: Irish Banks not open for Business

More than half of Ireland's small and medium-sized companies have been refused credit by Irish banks in the first three months of this year.
The vast majority of these firms were not looking for large loans or long-term credit, but for the normal over-draft and short-term credit facilities usually available to established businesses.

A nation-wide survey, conducted by the Irish Small & Medium Enterprise Association (ISME), shows that 58% of existing and viable businesses were refused regular credit by their banks between January and March 2009.

This figure is up ten points from the 48% recorded in the last Bank Watch survey, which was published in February. (To put this into perspective: Only a year ago the figure was just below 20%.)

83% of Irish companies said that banks were making it more difficult for small firms to get access to finance. More than half of the companies surveyed have been with their bank for ten years or more.

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding says that the Irish government should "stop pussyfooting around with the banks and force them to free up badly-needed credit".

He points out that the survey's findings are clearly at odds with various public statements issued by Irish banks, saying that they were "open for business".
"Recent initiatives and full-page ads taken out by banks in national newspapers were nothing more than PR stunts," Fielding added. "As far as the Irish small and medium-size companies are concerned, the banks are not open for business."

If this unacceptable behaviour continues, more Irish businesses - most of them sound, viable and well-established - will be forced to cut jobs and, eventually, to close.

Not enough that the banks created our financial crisis in the first place and turned Ireland from boom to bust within a few short months. No, now that the government has guaranteed their existence and bailed them out with billions of taxpayers' money, they become really nasty.

Instead of using the money from the re-capitalisation to stimulate the Economy and provide small and medium-sized businesses with normal credit and cash-flow facilities, Ireland's banks - especially AIB, Bank of Ireland and permanent tsb - are now hoarding money like never before.

If it needed any further proof, this is clear evidence that the banks are no longer part of the normal business environment, and certainly not the "cornerstones of our Economy", as the government and Fianna Fáil keep telling us again and again.
Banking has become an immoral activity, geared only towards the banks' interests and with absolutely no regards for other businesses, for individuals, the Economy or the nation as a whole.
I think we should stop calling them banks, and refer to them in future as 'pigeons'. Because like these parasitic birds the bankers want to be fed when they are on the ground, but when they are up in the air again, all they do is dropping excrements on all of us.

The Emerald Islander

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