1. Establishment of Organisation
During Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF programme in late 2013, the Taoiseach and Chancellor Merkel agreed that the German promotional bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) would help finance the Irish SME sector. It was this European agreement that led to the creation of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), ensuring that in future, Irish businesses have access to long-term, patient funding.
The Department of Finance and the National Treasury Management Agency 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 (a new fund to which the assets of the National Pensions Reserve Fund 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 Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD on 31st October 2014, in conjunction with Minister Howlin, TD, the German Minister for Finance, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble , President Werner Hoyer of the EIB and Dr Ulrich Schröder of the KfW.
The legislation establishing the SBCI can be accessed here.
2. Roles, responsibilities and functions of the FOI body
The SBCI is a company established to avail of both national and international sources of funding for the purpose of making low-cost credit available to Irish SMEs. Credit will be provided through on-lending institutions who, in turn, will lend directly to SMEs.
Funding for the SBCI has been provided from KfW (the German State Development Bank), the European Investment Bank and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. The SBCI launched its first Product Programme in March 2015 and is deploying its funding through a mix of bank and non-bank on-lending partners. Details of all SBCI’s on-lending partners can be accessed here.
One of the primary functions of the SBCI is to provide and promote the provision of additional credit in a prudent manner to enterprises or other persons in the State, in particular SMEs.
A full list of the functions of the SBCI is contained in section 8 of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014.
The SBCI hold certain classes of records, examples of which are listed below. Under the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014, the National Treasury Management Agency assigns staff and provides business and support services and systems to the SBCI. The records relating to these services are held by the NTMA.
- Policies and Procedures
- Facilities Records (Held by the NTMA)
- Corporate Records
- HR Records (Held by the NTMA)
- Information Governance Records
- IT Records (Held by the NTMA)
- Continuous Improvement Records
- Procurement Records (Held by the NTMA)
- Risk Records
- Financial Records
3. Governance/Management Arrangements
The SBCI is a private company limited by shares established under the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014 and incorporated in September 2014. The issued share capital of the SBCI is owned solely by the Minister for Finance.
The SBCI’s Articles of Association provide that there shall be a minimum of two and a maximum of nine directors, one of whom will be the Chief Executive Officer as an ex-officio member of the Board. The first directors were appointed by the Minister on the formation and registration of the SBCI. Subsequent directors are appointed by the Board on the nomination of the Minister for Finance. The Articles provide that the Chairperson is appointed by the Minister.
Three directors were appointed by the Minister in September 2014: John Corrigan (Chairperson), Nick Ashmore and Ann Nolan. John Corrigan resigned from the Board in January 2015 on his retirement as Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency. Conor O’Kelly, the new Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management was appointed as a director and as Chairperson in January 2015.
In March 2015 six additional directors were appointed to the Board: Barbara Cotter, Tom McAleese, Rosheen McGuckian, AJ Noonan, Richard Pelly and Eilis Quinlan. Ann Nolan and Conor O’Kelly were reappointed. Nick Ashmore continues to be an ex officio director in his capacity as CEO.
Details of the SBCI Board Membership can be found here.
The SBCI Board has adopted a Code of Conduct which underscores the Board’s commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Under the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014, the National Treasury Management Agency assigns staff and provides business and support services and systems to the SBCI. These staff members are subject to the NTMA’s Code of Practice on Confidentiality and Professional Conduct. Directors and members of staff are expected to ensure that all their activities are governed by the ethical standards reflected in the relevant code.
4. Corporate Plans and Strategies
Mission and Values
The SBCI’s strategy is grounded in its mission to ‘deliver effective financial supports to Irish SMEs and in time other sectors that address failures in the Irish credit market, while driving competition and innovation and ensuring the efficient use of available EU resources’, which in turn is informed by its functions under the SBCI Act 2014. In order to achieve this mission, the SBCI has set a vision to be a strong promotional financial institution that provides effective financial support for Irish SMEs and promotes the economic development of the State. This reflects the belief that the SBCI has a vital role to play in restoring an effective and sustainable market for SME financing in Ireland and a wider role in the long term as a conduit for State and European financing supports.
Core Strategic Principles
In providing finance to SMEs and delivering on priorities, the SBCI will:
- Provide financing to on‐lending credit providers including banks and non‐banks.
- Price its products to cover operational and funding costs and to the extent it takes on risk sharing any losses incurred in order to operate as a sustainable operation.
- Ensure that the benefit of the SBCI’s ability to obtain low cost funds or risk sharing capacity be transparently passed through to the underlying SMEs and not accrue to the SBCI or its front line on‐lending partners.
- Employ a small high quality and efficient team to keep costs down and transmit the maximum benefit to SMEs.
- Operate under prudent and best in class risk management standards and with reference to SBCI Risk Appetite Statement established by the Board.
- Adopt a transparent and flexible approach to its activities and the market that is clear to all participants and stakeholders assessing additionality both ex ante and ex post the delivery of measures.
- Implement State Aid rules and work to avoid distortion of the market.
- Leverage its capital and the State’s funding with resources and funding available from the EU by serving as a value added conduit for EU supports.
- Target rapid transmission of finance to the SME market through structuring of products that are attractive to SMEs and that on-lending institutions will wish to offer.
- Focus on attracting and supporting sustainable new market entrants and emerging smaller non‐bank finance providers.
- Seek to address market failures as they arise by ensuring that all viable businesses can access affordable credit regardless of sector to the extent allowed under state aid rules.
5. Annual Report
The SBCI 2019 Annual Report can be accessed here.
6. Organisation and Pay/Grading structures
Under section 10 of the SBCI Act, the SBCI staff are employees of the NTMA and are assigned to the SBCI by the NTMA. The SBCI reimburses the staff costs to the NTMA. Current pay/grading structures within the NTMA can be accessed here. Further details on these costs can be located in the SBCI 2019 Annual Report here.
7. Access to Information, Locations and Contact details for the Organisation
The SBCI routinely publishes information about the functions that it provides. Details of these publications can be accessed here.
Further routinely published information, including Board Meeting Minutes, can be accessed here.
Accessing Information or records
The SBCI has a number of routes for accessing information;
I. Freedom of Information (FOI)
The SBCI became subject to the FOI Act 2014 on 14 April 2015 and is defined in the Act as being a “partially included agency”. This means that members of the public have a right of access to some records held by the SBCI, but not all.
II. Data Protection
The SBCI is subject to the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018. These Acts are administered by the NTMA on behalf of the SBCI, accordingly this link will bring you to the NTMA website.
III. Access to Information on the Environment
The SBCI is subject to the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007, as amended. These Regulations are administered by the NTMA on behalf of the SBCI, accordingly this link will bring you to the NTMA website.
If you are a journalist and you have a query about the SBCI, please email the press office team at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a general query for the SBCI, you can send an email with your query to email@example.com
Alternatively, you can send your query to the following address:
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
North Wall Quay
8. Codes of Practice or Guidelines
The SBCI Code of Conduct can be accessed here.