The Central Bank has published the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48) (Lending to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) Regulations 2015. The new regulations require that credit institutions increase the transparency around their application processes for SME borrowers, provide specific reasons for declining credit and increase protection for guarantors in dealing with SMEs. The SME borrowers must be provided with the following information: (i) the specific reasons in writing, where credit is declined; (ii) arrears of 15 working days must be notified to borrowers and banks must make contact in order to identify the reasons for this situation arising; and (iii) a warning must be provided in advance to borrowers in danger of being classified as non-cooperative. In addition, the grounds upon which an SME borrower can appeal have been extended and lenders must set up an internal appeals panel to deal with appeals.
Regulated lenders (other than Credit Unions) must comply with these Regulations by 1 July 2016, and Credit Unions must comply by 1 January 2017.