AIB '17% ahead of SME lending target'

AIB said today that it is 17% ahead of its target on SME lending.

The bank has to lend €3.5bn this year to businesses, in accordance with Government-set targets.

The bank said that 90%of formal applications are approved, but the SME representatives have said that that is not the case on the ground.

Head of business banking at AIB, John Webb, said that the only way to get a definitive answer is to make a formal application.

"I would ask any business who believe that they have a viable business lending proposition to test us by coming into our commercial centres and coming into our branches rather than relying on the commentary that says we're not lending," he said.

"The message to our frontline staff is: 'We have the capital, we have the liquidity, we have the risk appetite to support SMEs, and we want to do that'.

"It is absolutely critical to AIB's future viability that we support a vibrant SME economy."

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