Unlike many European countries, Ireland did not have a state development bank to sustain funding to businesses during the financial crisis. During Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF programme in late 2013, the Taoiseach and German Chancellor agreed that the German promotional bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) would help support the Irish SME sector. This European agreement led to the creation of the SBCI, ensuring that in future, Irish businesses could have access to long-term, lower cost funding.
The Department of Finance and the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) worked throughout 2014 to create the necessary mechanisms to establish the SBCI. Building on the initial funding offer from the KfW, the project team added funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), a new fund to which the assets of the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) were transferred. The Government approved this approach and legislation enabling the establishment of the SBCI was passed by the Oireachtas in July 2014.
The SBCI was formally launched by the then Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, on 31 October 2014, in conjunction with Minister Brendan Howlin; the German Minister for Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble; President Werner Hoyer of the EIB and Ulrich Schröder of the KfW.