Helping Irish SMEs meet their Brexit challenges

 

The €300m Brexit Loan Scheme, which was launched by the Irish Government last week will be a
highly effective support for businesses.

Operated by the SBCI, it will provide low‐cost funding (at 4% or less), with the support of the
European Investment Fund, to businesses that are innovating in response to the challenges that
Brexit poses.

The scheme will cover loans ranging from €25,000 to €1.5m, with loans of up to €500,000 being
unsecured. The maximum rate for this scheme will be significantly lower than the matrix of rates
currently available to businesses on loans less than €250,000.

The SBCI will engage directly with Brexit‐impacted businesses to assist them with the eligibility
process and applying for these loans.

SMEs can start the process by visiting www.sbci.gov.ie and completing a straightforward form to
establish their eligibility for the scheme. We will give them a quick decision and a unique code
confirming that they are eligible which they can bring to any of the 3 lenders in the scheme – Bank of
Ireland, Ulster Bank and from June AIB. This alters the discussion with the bank as the borrower is
already covered by a guarantee.

The SBCI’s direct engagement with businesses will be hugely beneficial as it will allow the SBCI to
gather crucial process information on the challenges that SMEs face in accessing finance. We can use
this to identify SMEs’ needs well into the future and design the right kind of products to meet these
needs.

 

The latest stage in SBCI delivering for Irish businesses

The Brexit Loan Scheme is the latest SME support programme operated by the SBCI. In the three
years since we opened for business, the SBCI has supported over 22,000 Irish SMEs that have
borrowed a total of €920m using SBCI finance.

This has included large and small SMEs; our average loan size is €40,000 but we have supported
loans for as little as €1,500 and as large as €4.3 million.

The SMEs we have supported employ over 119,000 people.

We have been very successful in ensuring that the benefits the SBCI offers have been well spread
throughout Ireland – with 85% of loans outside Dublin and a generally broad spread throughout all
regions of the State. The agri/food sector has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of SBCI funding –
it is often overlooked that farmers are SMEs.

The finance provided has been delivered in the form of a strong mix of term loans for working capital
and investment purposes, leasing, hire purchase, contract hire and invoice discounting.

Nick Ashmore
Chief Executive, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)