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Business Lending to SME’s
The Central Bank has published a revised statutory Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME Code) setting out new requirements for lenders when dealing with SMEs in or facing financial difficulties. Publication of this code follows publication of a revised Consumer Protection Code last month.
The new SME code sets out procedures for lenders when dealing with SMEs in financial difficulties. The code sets out the type of information that may be required from an SME together with information on ways to mitigate fees or charges that might apply to an SME as a result of financial difficulties. A lender must complete its SME alternative repayment assessment and inform the SME of its decision within 15 business days of receiving all information required from the SME. A lender must put procedures in place to allow an SME to appeal their decision on an alternative repayment arrangement.
The revised SME code will come into effect from 1 January 2012.