New €50m financing programme announced for Irish SMEs

Specialist lender Finance Ireland is to act as co-lender for the programme, which follows on from the SBCI’s initial scheme, which has seen some €400 million in low-cost, long-terms loans made available to SMEs through AIB and Bank of Ireland.

The new programme includes low-cost leasing, hire purchase and rental agreement option. It is available to companies which employer fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover of less than €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than €43 million.

Under the SBCI initiative, banks can offer loans at discounted rates for periods of between two and 10 yearsSMEs draw down nearly €45m in funding from SBCI

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding says businesses seeking cash to expand or hire new staff cannot afford to have the banks slow down their plans.

“Our first phase of new SME loans, launched earlier this year through AIB and Bank of Ireland, has been a real success in addressing the needs of SMEs. We are confident that our second phase, starting today, will be equally successful, SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore.

The SBCI will provide a minimum of €800 million in low-cost funding to Irish SMEs. These funds have been sourced by the SBCI from the European Investment Bank, German promotional bank KfW and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

As part of the first phase of its programme the SBCI is channelling €400 million of funds into the SME sector.

More than 1,600 Small and medium-sized businesses availed of loans from the the SBCI in its first four months with the majority of funding used for investment purposes. The organisation was set up to offer loans to companies that are up to 2 per cent lower than current market rates.

Of the funds advanced during the period March to June, €39.1 million was for investment purposes, while €1.7 million was for refinancing of existing bank loans and €3.9 million for working capital.