The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), Ireland’s national promotional institution for low-cost flexible funding for SMEs, has today published a 2018 progress update and its 2017 annual report and accounts.
- As at end-March 2018 the SBCI has supported 23,867 SMEs, employing 122,227 people
- Total SBCI loans drawn from inception to end-March 2018 stood at €952 million
- 2017 saw the introduction of the SBCi's first risk sharing scheme, the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme. Under the scheme, €150m was made available to support eligible farmers experiencing short-term financial pressure due to price and income volatility - demand for this support was so strong that it reached capacity within weeks of its launch
- There is a strong geographical spread of SBCI loans across all regions. The south-western region is Ireland's biggest user of SBCI loans (20.3% of total)
- There is also a strong sectoral spread. Agriculture continues to be the largest sector supported by SBCI loans (26.1% of total), with Wholesale & Retail, Accommodation & Food Trade, Admin & Support, and Manufacturing Services also strongly represented
- 86% of loans have been used by SMEs to invest in growing the business. 12% for working capital and 2% for refinancing loans owed to a lender existing in the Irish market
- 2017 highlights included the successful delivery of €145m in low-cost loans, with an interest rate of 2.95pc, to primary agriculture businesses under the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme; and being appointed as manager of the Government's Credit Guarantee Scheme - effectively bringing together the state's risk sharing activities under one roof
- The €300m Brexit Loan Scheme is a Government of Ireland scheme delivered by the SBCI, which is aimed at providing much needed support for businesses impacted upon by Brexit. The scheme, which launched at the end of March 2018, enables eligible businesses access low-cost (max 4%) funding to address the challenges presented by Brexit
- New on-lenders and additional risk-sharing products are planned this year and beyond.
Comment by Nick Ashmore, CEO of SBCI:
“2017 was a transformative year for SBCI as it evolved from primarily a conduit for channelling low-cost funding to SMEs to helping address the access to finance issue through the delivery of risk sharing initiatives for SMEs.
We appreciate the on-going support shown by our on-lenders in delivering these results for SMEs. Our Annual Report today sets out the strategic direction for SBCI for the coming years, noting our role as an intermediary for the effective use of EU financing supports relevant to Irish businesses and delivery of additional types of financial instruments which will enable SMEs to grow and scale-up their businesses.”
See the full report here.