Credit Review Office

The Credit Review Office (CRO) was set up in 2010 as a response to the financial crisis to help make sure that viable SMEs and farmers in Ireland are getting fair access to credit.

The Credit Review Office provides a simple, effective review process for Small and Medium Enterprises, including sole traders and farm enterprises, who have had requests for credit refused or existing credit facilities reduced or withdrawn.

The review process covers all applications from new loans or restructured credit facilities from €1,000 up to €3,000,000.

SME's are businesses with less than 250 employees, and which have an annual turnover of less than €50 million, and/or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

At present the participating banks AIB and BOI. PTSB have agreed to join the process, and Ulster Bank are actively considering joining up.

The Credit Review Office invites applications from borrowers who have had their written applications for credit refused or reduced, or their existing facilities withdrawn, and feel that the bank's decision is unjustified.

The review process will operate after the borrower has unsuccessfully appealed through the bank's own internal credit appeals process.

If an internal appeal is unsuccessful, the Credit Review Office will undertake an independent and impartial re-evaluation of the bank's decision.

The Credit Review Office has no regulatory or statutory powers to override bank lending decisions, which are a matter for the internal policy and governance of the banks. The outcome of the review process for the borrower will be an independent and impartial opinion on the credit decision.

If the Credit Review Office's opinion is that the lending could have made within acceptable risk boundaries, the bank will be required to comply with the recommendation or explain to the Credit Review Office why they will not do so.

Since 2010 the CRO has had 54% of the banking decisions that were brought to it overturned

  • How does the process work?

If a borrower believes that the bank has

  • unfairly refused a written request for a loan
  • unfairly offered a smaller loan that requested
  • reduced or removed existing credit facilities
  • attached terms and conditions to the loan such that the loan cannot be accepted

then the borrower should ask for the decision to be appealed through the bank's internal appeals process.

If that appeal is unsuccessful, then the borrower can apply for the review to the Credit Review Office.

You can begin your application by downloading an application form from the Credit Review Office website

  • Fees

A fee of €1 per thousand of the loan request will be charged for the Credit Review Office's service, with a minimum charge of €100, and a maximum charge of €250.

Information on:

Click here to find out more and what you can do to help yourself.