€100m funding for SMEs in scheme backed by EU Commission

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland to share credit risk with lenders for first time

Funding of €100 million will be made available to small and medium-sized businesses as part of a new agreement that will see the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) share credit risk with lenders for the first time.

The European Investment Fund and the SBCI, which is an SME-funding company, have signed the first Cosme agreement in the Republic. Cosme is a European Commission programme designed to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe.

The transaction is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which will allow the SBCI to support €100 million in loans to 2,000 SMEs through risk-sharing initiatives in the Republic over the next three years.

Chief executive Nick Ashmore said the agreement "marks an exciting new phase" for the SBCI. "It enables us, for the first time, to bring new risk-sharing products in the form of guarantees to the Irish market," he said.


“It will help us deliver the Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme in early 2017 and, crucially, it will allow us to develop new ways for SMEs to get easier access to finance.”

Sign agreement

European Investment Fund deputy chief executive

Roger Havenith

arrived in Ireland to sign the agreement and attend the opening of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Irish office in Dublin on Friday last.

In a statement, the fund said the new office would give local entrepreneurs a direct contact point in the Republic for European Investment Fund and EIB financing solutions.

“Entrepreneurs will be able to access finance directly from SBCI’s on-lending banks in Ireland,” it said.

Mr Havenith said SMEs were “drivers of economic growth” in the Republic and helped to drive job creation.

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said he hoped the EIB's decision to open an office in Dublin would "facilitate many more such agreements in the months and years ahead, especially in the agri-sector".

“Supporting SMEs is a key element of our strategy to boost jobs and growth, particularly in rural areas,” he said. “Today’s agreement shows that the investment plan is playing a crucial role in delivering new financing solutions for smaller Irish businesses.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter