Microfinance Ireland has partnered with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to lend to small businesses in Ireland, with State-backed agency committing up to €30 million in funding for the loans.
This makes Microfinance Ireland the 14th lender to sign up for lower-cost loans, expanding the options for small and medium sized businesses.
SBCI chief executive June Butler said the announcement offered a new option that would go a long way towards helping businesses thrive into the future.
Microfinance Ireland will offer lower rates on its standard loans, providing finance through the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund. The loans will have a term of up to five years, with amounts up to €25,000 and flexible repayment schedules.
Microfinance Ireland chief executive Des McCarthy said the company had seen a very significant increase in demand for loan products over the past 18 months. “This funding will allow us to support an even greater number of start-ups and established micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees and up to €2 million annual turnover,” he said. “The rate offered on this SBCI funding will lead to a reduction in the rates we charge our borrowers thereby making our loans more affordable for our customers and supporting more of them with their business plans.”
The news was welcomed by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. "This partnership means that the SBCI will be able to assist Microfinance Ireland in its mission to deliver the Government's Microenterprise Loan Fund and support small businesses who may be having difficulties in accessing funding for their business," he said. "The SBCI offers a wide range of supports to the SME sector and welcoming MFI as its 14th on-lender continues the SBCI's work to expand on-lenders beyond the retail banks, meaning that more SMEs are able to access credit from an increased diversity of sources in both bank and non-bank credit."