There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.
Credit Review Office (CRO)
Simple, independent review process for small businesses refused/reduced/withdrawn credit by banks.
Experienced credit reviewers, with frontline SME credit experience, review the bank’s decision to refuse credit. The bank must provide the information used in reaching the decision. The CRO issues recommendations for the borrower and the bank.
As of the end of March 2017, the CRO had reviewed 552 cases:
- 250 – bank decision upheld
- 302 – borrower upheld
- 55% overturned
- €46.7 million credit recommended
- 3,175 jobs projected/created
The CRO reports regularly to the Minister for Finance on credit trends and bottlenecks. These reports are published and can be found here.
The recovery to date has been deemed ‘creditless’ by some – an indication of the hesitance of small businesses to apply for credit and the difficulties of accessing it. The aim of the CRO is to ensure that viable businesses have access to credit, which is an important tool for growth in a healthy economy.
If a company disagrees with the bank’s decision in relation to a credit application, the first step is to follow the bank’s internal appeal process.
If the applicant is still unsuccessful, they can appeal to the Credit Review Office by visiting www.creditreview.ie, calling 1850 211 789 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A fee of €100-€250 applies (depending on the value of the loan request) and the appeal takes on average 4-6 weeks.
The outcome of the appeal is a short opinion document from the CRO with recommendations for the borrower and the bank and next steps (if the appeal is successful).
The bank must comply, or explain to the CRO why not. To date, all banks have complied with the recommendations.
If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:
- The Credit Review process is open to all businesses with less than 250 employees, less than €50 million in turnover and/or a balance sheet value of less than €43 million, including sole traders, partnerships and limited companies
- An appeal can only be made to the CRO if the loan was refused by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank or PTSB.
- Appeals can relate to credit facilities such as loans, overdrafts, leasing and invoice discounting, from €1,000 to €3,000,000.
- Credit card debt is not covered by the Credit Review Office.
- An appeal must be brought to the CRO within 28 days of the bank’s internal appeal decision.
- Even in cases where the appeal is not successful, the CRO will try to suggest some form of remedy or alternative way forward.
The CRO recently published an information note for SMEs with debts in a loan portfolio sale.