SMEs in Northern Ireland have 2,672 new loans approved worth £384m in last three months

There were 2,672 new loans worth £383m approved for SMEs in Northern Ireland during the second quarter of this year, according to UK Finance
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THERE were 2,672 new loans approved for small and medium enterprises in Northern Ireland during the second quarter of this year to the value of £384 million, according figures from the UK Finance trade body.

That equated to 91 per cent of all applications made, with businesses in Northern Ireland being more successful in receiving finance from traditional banks than their counterparts in the rest of the UK (where just eight out of 10 applications for SME finance were approved).

Stuart Mansfield, finance partner at Arthur Cox, said: “For the second successive quarter, the total value of lending to Northern Ireland SMEs was £384 million although the figure for the three months to June was marginally lower than the same period in 2017.

“This compared favourably to other regions of the UK with Scottish SMEs receiving £590 million in loan approvals while those in Wales were approved for £262 million worth of lending.

“In keeping with what our finance team is seeing in the marketplace, the real estate and professional & support services sector accounted for the largest proportion of lending with approved loans amounting to £91m over the period.

“It was followed closely by businesses in the agriculture, hunting and forestry sector which received approvals worth £82m.”

In the UK as a whole, there were 69,300 new loans approved to SMEs for a value of £7.1bn over the April-May-June period/

Stephen Pegge, managing director (commercial) at UK Finance said: “Banks approved almost 70,000 loans to SMEs this quarter and success rates remain high, with eight out of 10 applications getting the green light.

“Demand for finance amongst SMEs has increased, particularly among production and manufacturing industries.

“SMEs also increased cash balances and paid down existing lending, leaving outstanding borrowing little changed overall.”

UK Finance is a trade association formed in July last year to represent the finance and banking industry operating in the UK.

It represents around 250 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services, and it brings together most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers' Association, Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.