The role of banks in the evolution of small entrepreneurial Irish firms

Patrick Ibbotson (University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK)
Lucia Moran (Magee College, University of Ulster, Derry, Northern Ireland, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The overall aim of the study was to gauge the perceptions of both small businesses and banks, as to the role of banks in the growth, development and success of small entrepreneurial Northern Irish businesses.


The authors employed a mixed methodological approach, involving a series of focus groups and semi‐structured interviews with SMEs and staff from three leading high street banks. A follow up survey was conducted using a sample of 250 SMEs.


Evidence suggests that banks in Northern Ireland have been, and continue to be very supportive to their small business client base and have played a major role in the growth and development of many of these small entrepreneurial firms. Many SMEs felt that their local branch manager was both understanding and sympathetic to their business needs.

Research limitations/implications

The study examined the views of a relatively small sample of SMEs and bank staff. A further investigation is planned where a much larger sample will be used.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the important role played by local branch managers in the support and development of SMEs. This is particularly important given the recent adverse publicity received by banks for “over‐charging” customers and the underlying threat faced by local bank branches.


The paper presents a different perspective on the relationship between banks and their small business clients, indicating that it is often positive, supportive and mutually beneficial.



Ibbotson, P. and Moran, L. (2005), "The role of banks in the evolution of small entrepreneurial Irish firms", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 556-563.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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