First Citizen Finance approved by SBCI to offer low-cost loans

Company to distribute €50m in loans to agri-businesses for machinery

First Citizen Finance has won approval from the State-backed Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to offer low-cost financing to agri-business SMEs.

SBCI said First Citizen is offering a €50 million fund to agri-businesses seeking to buy or lease machinery, including tractors, combine harvesters and balers.

First Citizen’s hire purchase and leasing products for agri-business will use the SBCI’s funding advantage to offer discounted rates and more attractive repayment terms of up to 7 years.

SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore said this is another key step in delivering lower-cost, more flexible funding to Ireland's agri-business SMEs – which already account for 26 per cent of all SBCI loans.

“It is a major achievement for the SBCI that we have now committed nearly all of the €800 million original funding we received when we were set up. This demonstrates the significant impact that the SBCI is having on the SME lending market and the strong demand among SMEs for what we are delivering.”

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said access to innovative financial instruments through non-bank lending is a key trend at EU level.

"Investment, growth and jobs are the top priorities of the European Commission, and improved access to competitive finance is the catalyst to making this priority a reality."