Statement in response to the publication of the SME Finance Update Quarter 3 2018

Stuart Mansfield, Finance Partner at Arthur Cox, said:

“The value of loans approved for small and medium enterprises in Northern Ireland totalled £415 million in the three months to the end of September.

“The level of borrowing illustrates that, while demand for finance remains subdued since the peak levels experienced prior to the second quarter in 2016, the appetite of SMEs to invest and grow their businesses remains steady despite ongoing uncertainty regarding Brexit and the future trading landscape.

“This is reflective of what our Finance Team is observing in the marketplace.

“There were 2,438 new loans approved over the period and although the value is marginally lower than the corresponding three months in 2017, the figure is the highest quarterly total recorded this year.

“The ‘Real Estate Sector’ received the highest total value of loans, amounting to £124m, which represented a 53 per cent rise on the previous quarter and was 17 per cent up on the corresponding period last year.

“Overall, 92 per cent of loans were approved for Northern Ireland-based SMEs, which compared to 8 out of 10 applications being given the green light across the UK as a whole.”