Irish SMEs are paying higher than average interest rates which shows the urgent need for public banking.
Cllr Mark Dearey, Green Party Spokesperson for Finance said: “The recent news that SMEs in Ireland are paying .76% higher interest for loans than the EU average is proof positive that our banks are not exposed to sufficient competition and can get away with charging excessive rates to small businesses in this country.
“The banks create the illusion of competition but it all happens within a tacit understanding that rates can remain well above the EU norm. It puts our businesses at an immediate competitive disadvantage and must be affecting key decisions among business owners around employing additional staff.
“For 2 years now the Green Party has been working with the Sparkasse Bank Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) to develop a new model of public banking here in Ireland and has presented to the Department of Finance a unique opportunity, working hand in hand with the German Public Banking giant, to create new regional savings banks who will lend to the regions’ SME sectors.
“Instead of taking the opportunity presented, the decision to engage has been delayed time and again.
“I personally appealed to Minister Noonan to make a decision back in November after many months of waiting but clearly he is not willing to give us that critical ‘Third Force’ in Irish banking that will keep the others honest or at least competitive.
“It is disappointing in the extreme to see this offer to innovate with the architecture of our banking system being treated with such little interest. Meanwhile Irish SMEs continue to be drained of vital liquidity.”