10 Step Guide for Micro and Small Enterprises and Guarantors published

03 June 2016 Press Release
  • New SME Regulations come into force for regulated lenders  from 1 July 2016 and for Credit Unions from 2017
  • SME Regulations strengthen protections for SME borrowers and guarantors when dealing with regulated firms
  • Guide highlights 10 points that micro and small enterprises should know about the protections in the Regulations

The Central Bank of Ireland has today published a short Guide for micro and small enterprises and guarantors, highlighting the protections available to them in the Regulations on Lending to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises 2015 (the Regulations).

This Guide outlines the ten things that micro and small enterprises and guarantors need to know about the protections contained in these Regulations.

As explained in the Guide, the Regulations aim to protect SMEs by introducing specific requirements for regulated lenders, including:

  • Giving SME borrowers greater transparency around the credit application process;
  • Providing SME borrowers with reasons for declining credit, in writing, that are specific to their application;
  • Providing greater protections for guarantors;
  • Contacting SME borrowers who have been in arrears for 15 working days;
  • Warning SME borrowers if they are in danger of being classified as not co-operating; and
  • Expanding the grounds for appeal and setting up an internal appeals panel.

Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan, said:

“The Regulations aim to strengthen protections for SMEs when borrowing from regulated lenders while also facilitating access to credit. We have produced a short guide outlining the ten things that micro and small enterprises should know about the protections available to them. The Guide also includes information about the protections for guarantors.”

The Regulations, which were published last December, come into effect on 1 July 2016 for regulated lenders other than credit unions. Credit unions will be subject to the Regulations from 1 January 2017.  


At the time of publication of the SME Regulations in December 2015, the Central Bank also published a feedback statement to its public consultation on the review of the SME Code (CP91) (available here).

The regulations will come into effect and apply to regulated entities, except credit unions, from 1 July 2016.  Until then, the existing SME Code remains in place. 

Credit unions are not currently subject to the SME Code, but will be subject to the SME Regulations.  For credit unions lending to SMEs, the regulations will take effect on 1 January 2017. 

The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48) (Lending to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) Regulations are available here.