SME Regulations for lending to SMEs

The Central Bank of Ireland has a number of measures in place to specifically protect and support the interests of businesses.

Since 1 July 2016, banks must follow regulations set out in the Central Bank’s Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48) (Lending to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Regulations 2015 (the SME Regulations). The SME Regulations set out the treatment of SMEs by banks in relation to various aspects of business lending including the provision of pre-contract and post-sale information, the credit application process, requirements regarding security or collateral, credit refusals/withdrawals, handling complaints, and managing arrears and financial difficulties.

The SME Regulations replace the previous Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME Code).

You can access the SME Regulations here

Banks must also follow the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts with Payment Service Providers (the Switching Code), which replaced the Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions  in September 2016.  This applies to both personal consumers and small businesses with turnover of up to €3 million.

You can access the Switching Code here.