The credit-crunch blame game flared up in Ireland today, as a report published by the country’s small-business association brought about an angry response from the national banking association. The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) released a survey of members that claimed some 55% were refused credit from banks in the last three months. More salaciously, the association said that 12% of survey respondents were asked by banks to consider their family homes as collateral for business loans. With large swathes of the Irish banking system now under government control, the ISME called for an official investigation into “real lending figures”, as opposed to the “fairy tales” it claims are being published in banks’ financial statements.
For its part, the Irish Banking Federation dubbed ISME’s report as “misrepresentative” and “particularly unhelpful” when it comes to promoting corporate confidence. What’s more, the federation added, a government-commissioned report in April showed that one-third of small-business loans were past due, “a key factor in accounting for strains in the supply of credit.” (At the time, the ISME criticised the report as based on “unsubstantiated and incomplete data.”)
If there wasn’t so much at stake, borrowers and lenders could simply agree to disagree and move on.