Over half of Northern Ireland businesses have reported suffering toughened bank lending conditions.
An Institute of Directors (IoD) survey showed more firms were having difficulty with their bankers than their counterparts in Britain.
The survey showed 53% of businesses here found lending conditions tougher during the first three months of the year compared with 43% in Britain. The tougher conditions reported by businesses related mainly to higher interest rates and higher arrangement fees.
Joanne Stuart, chairman of the IoD in Northern Ireland, said the survey confirmed evidence of the effects of the credit crunch locally.
“One of the issues highlighted in the survey is that various interventions taken by the Government have yet to bite,” Ms Stuart said.
“Despite cuts in the official interest rate, 48% of respondents reported the interest rate they were paying had increased because of a move from base rate plus to LIBOR (the interbank lending rate) plus.”
The survey also showed a widespread lack of awareness and minimal uptake of various Government-backed funding schemes.
However, the IoD said contrary to some perceptions of a dearth of banking finance, the survey showed 93% of businesses had been able to renew their existing bank loan and 80% were able to renew an existing overdraft.
Some 63% of respondents were able to extend an existing bank loan. But overdrafts were more difficult, with 64% of requests for a new overdraft and 55% of requests for an overdraft extension being declined.