Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Impact of Covid-19: Hospitality Sector

Mr. Jim Power:

The experience I find with the SME sector generally is that the banking sector is proving incredibly difficult at the moment. One of the problems is that in a free banking market, banks are loath to lend to or support SMEs at this time when business risks are significantly higher. State intervention is required and banks will have to be given some guarantees of some sort in order to provide more capital to small businesses because they will not do so if they are left to their own devices. There is no doubt about that. There are many solutions to ensuring that as many businesses as possible that shut down in March are able to reopen and survive the challenging environment they will face over the next 18 to 24 months. The banking sector has to step up to the plate and play a more constructive role. I agree with Mr. Cummins' point about the amount of money we put in to support the banks over a ten-year period. It is time for the banks to help.