Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue has said the latest report on lending figures from the Central Bank proves that the banking sector and the Government are failing small businesses in Donegal and across the country.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy has called on the Government to provide increased lending powers to credit unions and County Enterprise Boards to increase the credit available to viable local businesses.
“This report clearly demonstrates what small businesses in Donegal and across the country have known for some time – that banks are simply not lending and the Government is doing little or nothing about it,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“The desperately weak level of lending is strangling the life out of small businesses in this region and it is costing us jobs. At the moment banks are turning away viable customers with good business plans who can fully repay their loans. This ultimately results in business closures, more job losses and an unprofitable banking system.
“It is time for the Government to wake up and stop living in denial about the extent of this crisis. It’s clear from this report that the banks have been sugar-coating their lending figures and that the Government has just accepted this without question. As the owner of AIB and shareholder in Bank of Ireland, the Government needs to use its teeth and ensure that appropriate lending targets are fully met.
“I am also calling on the Government to consider increasing the lending powers of credit unions and the County Enterprise Boards (CEB). Credit unions should be allowed to lend to businesses with finance from the NTMA. County Enterprise Boards (CEB) also need to be funded so they can administer smaller, recoverable loans for hard-pressed businesses.
“This report is a damning indictment of the Irish banking sector and it must act as a wake-up call for the Government. The small business sector is the lifeblood of the local economy and the key to economic recovery in the North West. The Government should be doing everything in its power to support local businesses and encourage job creation.”