Do:

  • Be prepared when meeting your bank. When dealing with your bank it is essential that you are adequately prepared, even from the first meeting. Make sure that you have a clear Business Plan and that you can answer any questions that your bank may have.
  • Keep your bank informed in good times and bad times. If you inform your bank when things are going well, they are likely to be more understanding when things aren't going so well. If you are facing problems don't just ignore them. If you inform the bank of your problems they will be able to help you.
  • Use your bank as a source of advice. It is important to gather as much information and advice as possible, as good advice is the key ingredient of any successful business.
  • Choose a bank close to you. When dealing with your bank you want your business adviser to have knowledge of the market that you are selling to. By choosing a branch near your business location you will benefit from their expertise of the local market.
  • Shop around before choosing a bank. Don't choose the first bank you visit. All banks will have different financial products and offers so it is important to shop around and find out which bank has the best deal for your business. For example, some banks offer two-years free banking to start-up businesses.

Don't:

  • Be afraid to ask. Don't assume that you may not be eligible for finance. It is always worth asking. For example, security is not always needed when applying for a loan.
  • Make unnecessary trips to the branch. Take advantage of online and phone channels that your bank will offer. These will allow you to check your balance and make transactions without having to go to the branch.
  • Forget to take advantage of cost saving facilities that your bank will offer. If you use online and electronic transfers you will save on transactions fees, stamp duty, postage and your own administration.
  • Try to deceive your bank. It is important to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur as your bank will find out in the long run.
  • Go over your authorised limits. You will have to pay a charge if you go above your authorised overdraft limit. If the limit on your current account is insufficient, discuss an increase with your business adviser.
  • Credit Union
  • Don't forget your Credit Union. If you are not already a member of one, you should consider joining. You may well be able to borrow three or more times what you have in shares, over an agreed and extended period of time, even though the interest rate may be high.

Credit Difficulties

Many small businesses have difficulty getting credit. Your Business Your Bank (pdf) is a guide on getting funding for small and medium businesses. It includes information on how to prepare a bank credit application. The Central Bank published a revised Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (pdf) which came into effect on 1 January 2012.

If you have a small or medium business and your application for credit is refused by one of the participating banks you may apply to the Credit Review Office to have your case reviewed. To be eligible for a review your application must have been in writing. There is a bank lending application form on the website of the Credit Review Office. The fee for the review ranges from €100 up to a maximum of €250.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme aims to encourage additional lending to small and medium businesses who are commercially viable but have difficulty in accessing credit. Under the Scheme eligible applicants will be assisted in obtaining a loan and in establishing a favourable credit history. You can find out more in the information booklet about the Scheme (pdf). There are also Customer Frequently Asked Questions (pdf) as well as details of eligibility criteria (pdf).

If you are having difficulties with your creditors the Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice service (CAVA) can give free advice and assistance on your business affairs. Contact your local Citizens Information Service or Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) to see if they offer the service.

MABS is a free and confidential service for people in Ireland with debt and money management problems. You can find out more in our document on dealing with debt.

Credit Union

Don't forget your Credit Union. If you are not already a member of one, you should consider joining. You may well be able to borrow three or more times what you have in shares, over an agreed and extended period of time, even though the interest rate may be high.

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