The Access to Finance Implementation Panel (AFIP) has been launched by finance minister Simon Hamilton and enterprise minister Arlene Foster. Its chairman will be Russel Griggs, a lead reviewer of the banks’ appeals processes.
Hamilton said: “This panel will put a new focus on banking and access to finance issues here, particularly business lending.
“For some time now we have been faced with a situation where banks have been saying that they have money to lend but that there is no demand, and where many businesses are saying they cannot get the money they need to invest and grow.”
He added that many schemes have been put in place but are “not working as well as they might do”. “It all adds up to a situation where constrained business lending is impeding our economic recovery,” said Hamilton.
“This panel will bring independent eyes to this. We have asked it to tell it to us exactly as they see it. It will work with us, the banks and the business bodies to progress the issues associated with access to finance that we have identified.”
BRS proposed officially contacting AFIP to report our findings.
We will keep you informed. An independent panel has been set up to find out how big a problem access to finance is for businesses in Northern Ireland.