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Taking on the banks and winning - all in a day's work for this Irish businessman

Liam Murphy had his loan application rejected – but he didn’t allow that to deter him.


Two of the worst words in the English language – but even more disastrous for those struggling to keep an SME ticking over in a time of country-wide financial strain.

This harsh reality was facing Liam Murphy when trying to get his business, HPP Tolling, off the ground.

Liam had the bright idea of harnessing the power behind high pressure processing (HPP), a ground-breaking method of enhancing the safety and shelf life of a variety of food and beverage products while maintaining their quality.

HPP is an alternative to pasteurising, as it uses high pressure to preserve foods as opposed to chemicals and preservatives used in other processes.

Not only did Liam see this as a successful business idea for himself, but also as an opportunity to offer 700+ Irish food businesses access to this new technology.

Hiperbaric HPP / YouTube

When Liam went to secure funding for his pioneering venture, he was disappointed to discover that banks were finding the new technology too risky a notion to agree to lending money.

It seemed as if Liam had reached a dead end with his business idea, until he struck upon the Credit Review Office, who successfully appealed the decision and enabled him to make HPP Tolling more than just a dream.

And so in 2012, HPP Tolling was established in Dublin.

Liam himself said:

 Our business is the first of its kind in Ireland and along with being a start-up this brought many challenges in raising the necessary funding to get our business off the ground.

“The Credit Review office saw the bigger picture as well – they saw the opportunity to get new technology that is going to lead to all sorts of possibilities in terms of exports. They looked at it in a broader business sense, and communicated that to the banks in a way we couldn’t because they had the knowledge and expertise,” he adds.

Check out the comparison between juices below to see the efficiency of HPP – something now available to the food and beverage industry market in Ireland thanks to Liam’s tenacity on not giving up on his business idea in the face of banks saying “no”.

So, what is the Credit Review Office exactly?

The Credit Review Office is an independent review process for SME businesses that have had bank  or credit applications denied from participating banks. Set up during the recession, the Credit Review Office examines cases where the business feels their loan denial has been unjustified.

And how do they help?

If a business has had a loan or credit application turned down by a participating bank and feels that it was unjustified they can get an independent assessment from the Credit Review Office and see if the decision could possibly be overturned. Banks currently part of the review process are Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank, while PTSB will join shortly.

The Credit Review Office can’t guarantee success in every case, but it overturned approximately 50% of the banking decisions that have applied for an appeal since 2010.

As Liam says:

The fact you have someone who sees the business as you see it, and can articulate your argument… Having someone you know is listening is great.

Who is eligible for help?

There are some criteria to be eligible for assessment and review -

  • You have an SME business – less than 250 employees with a turnover of less than €50 million
  • You have been declined for credit of up to €3 million
  • If your business has had an unfavourable change to existing credit terms and conditions

You can also check your eligibility here.

How do I get started?

After you check your eligibility then you need to download and submit an application to the Credit Review Office, or you can give them a call on 1850 221789. For more information on the Credit Review Office check out www.creditreview.ie.

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