The Irish Banking Federation has said that the Third Mazars report of Lending to SMEs illustrates the level of financial support provided by banks to SME businesses in these challenging times. The report shows that almost €1.6bn in credit was approved across 29,000 applications in Q4 2009, bringing total credit outstanding to the SME sector to €32.3bn. While total lending to SMEs decreased slightly by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, at 0.5% the decrease was at its lowest in the loans category which accounts for the bulk (82%) of all SME lending. The IBF has welcomed the publication of the report that provides facts that will continue to inform the valuable work of the Governments Credits Supply Clearing Group and the independent credit review process, among other initiatives.