Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
197. To ask the Minister for Finance the data his Department is tracking in respect of landlord and bank dealings with enterprises impacted by Covid-19; and the policy initiatives under consideration to ensure that the appraisal of such bodies does not hamper the successful reopening of enterprises which can be made viable in the medium term. [16798/20]
While I, as Minister for Finance, have no function in respect of tracking landlord dealings with enterprises, the Banking Division of my Department does monitor bank lending with a particular focus on SME access to credit and related issues. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), a body under the aegis of my Department, is closely involved in the design and implementation of loan and guarantee schemes to support firms through this economic shock whereas the Credit Review is there to assist those companies that have had their application bank credit turned down.
In the current situation, payment breaks are a key focus and the primary data sources monitored by my Department in relation to the level of payment breaks availed of by those businesses impacted by Covid-19 are Central Bank and Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland publications and statistical reports. The most recent of these, and of particular note, is the Central Bank of Ireland’s ‘Behind the Data’ note on Covid-19 Payment Breaks – who has needed them? This publication may be found at .
The note outlines the distribution of payment breaks across different categories of borrowers, specifically households, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporates. High-level data are provided, aggregating across financial services firms; supplemented with additional detail for Irish retail banks’ business borrowers (i.e., SME and corporate borrowers). There is additional context to the data published in the Central Bank’s recent Financial Stability Review.
As at late June, there were nearly 30,500 payment breaks approved for Irish business borrowers. Some 27,200 are SMEs with breaks in respect of loans worth €6 billion, which represents about 28% of the Irish SME loan book. The other 3,200 payment business payments break are for corporate customers. They are in respect of €2.1 billion of loans representing 17% of the corporate loan book. Irish retail banks account for the overwhelming number and value of these payment breaks.
In terms of aiding businesses to survive and successfully reopen, I have introduced a series of measures and supports including the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and the proposed ‘warehousing’ of certain COVID-19 related tax debts which are two significant measures introduced to support businesses immediate cash flow challenges.
In addition, Government announced a package of measures aimed at supporting businesses and farmers including the provision of grants and loans, in relation to working capital, longer-term finance and business advisory supports. A comprehensive list of these measures can be found at . Government is also providing a range of loan guarantee schemes to enhance access to credit, particularly for SMEs. Indeed, my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is bringing the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill 2020 before the Oireachtas this week to provide for the €2 billion Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. It provides for 80% guarantees on loans between €10,000 and €1m with a maximum term of 6 years.
As the Deputy will be aware, Government has announced an Economic Stimulus package today that includes a further mix of supports having consulted with the business community.