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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Feb 16, 2012 - 9:08 AM


Central Bank survey shows 70% of loans to Irish SMEs at end of 2010 were performing
By Finfacts Team
Feb 16, 2012 - 9:04 AM

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The Central Bank of Ireland today published new economic research entitled 'The Irish SME Lending Market ¡V A Snapshot, December 2010, which shows that 70% of loans to Irish SMEs (small and medium sized businesses) were performing at the end of 2010. The Central Bank says that 18% were on a watch-list or were past due, while 12% were impaired.

The research provides a detailed overview of the shares and performance of loans across sectors of activity and loan size brackets. The work will be presented publicly at the Central Bank conference 'The Irish SME Lending Market: Descriptions, Analysis, Prescriptions' on March 2.

The data used in the analysis come from a large sample of SME loans collected for the March 2011 Financial Measures Programme Report and used in stress testing the Irish banking system. The loan data can be divided into three categories of performance: Performing; Watchlist or Past Due; Default or Impaired.

The key findings of the research are as follows:

  • At end-2010, the largest sectors in terms of the Irish financial institutions¡¦ SME exposure were Wholesale & Retail (20%), Financial (16%), Hotels & Restaurants (15%) and Agriculture (15%);
  • Of these large sectors, loans to the Hotels & Restaurants and Financial sectors were of much larger value on average;
  • In total, 70% of SME loans were performing at end-2010, with 18% categorised as Watchlist or Past Due and 12% Impaired;
  • The sector with the largest share of performing loans was Agriculture at 81%;
  • Of the large-exposure sectors, Hotels & Restaurants had the lowest share of performing loans at 49%. Other sectors with low share included Construction (65%), Financial (65%), Manufacturing (66%), Professional & Real Estate (69%) and Wholesale & Retail (69%);
  • In analysing the share of performing loans across the distribution of loan value, it was found that the lowest shares of performing loans were among the largest loans, with a share of performing loans below 50% in the top 10% of loans;
  • Among the smallest 75% of loans by value, the share of performing loans hovers between 70 and 85%, with the share falling as loans get larger thereafter;
  • By sector, it is shown that most sectors follow the above pattern whereby amongst the largest value loans, the share of performing loans falls below 60 and even 50%;
  • Two sectors stand out in this regard: in the Hotels & Restaurants sector, the share of performing loans in the top 20% of loans by value is below 30%; in the construction sector the figure is similar.

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