James Doyle, a candidate for Greystones in the upcoming local elections, has raised concerns on behalf of local business people on foot of news that their loans are to be stress-tested.
The tests on SME loans are to happen this year at the behest of the European Central Bank.
Doyle, who has a family background in small business, fears that many Wicklow businesses employing local people and contributing to the community will disappear if a ruthless “one size fits all” approach is taken by the banks.
He said: “Small businesses employ 7 out of 10 people in Ireland. They also provide vital services to their businesses and the retail consumer.”
In response to hearing that bank leaders are to “sort out” underperforming loans the Greystones Fianna Fail candidate emphasised that “if the banks act in a blunt and short-sighted manner many viable Wicklow businesses will go under. That’s not just one decent person’s livelihood on the line but their family’s income and workers’ jobs will vanish too.
Having worked in financial services and legal regulation Doyle said: “Will the banks take a mature and long term approach when dealing with these struggling entrepreneurs? Or will they simply check the arrears, consult internal procedures, foreclose on the business and ‘tick the box’ – job done?”
He concluded by calling on the Government to stand up for small business and jobs in Wicklow: “Where it is clear that breathing space or a restructuring of terms can enable a hardworking businessperson to keep going and realise their potential I believe more should be done to make that happen.”