Strategic Banking Corporation lends €311m in first half of 2017

Agri-business sector and SMEs show appetite for lower-cost funding

SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore. (Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times)

SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore. (Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times)

 

The State-owned Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) supported loans worth €311 million in the first six months of this year.

By the end of June 2017 the organisation had supported loans totalling €855 million to more than 21,000 Irish small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)

SMEs save an average of 1.15 per cent compared to market interest rates when using an SBCI loan. The corporation’s lending currently supports more than 106,000 jobs in the state.

A scheme launched in January for agri-business SMEs accounted for €118 million worth of lending to more than 3,500 businesses in the agricultural sector.

“These figures demonstrate the SBCI’s strong impact and the significant appetite among Irish SMEs, including farmers, for lower-cost funding that is more flexible and designed to suit their specific needs,” said Nick Ashmore, the organisation’s chief executive.

“The southwest showed the most SMEs using SBCI loans with over 18 per cent of loan numbers by region, while Dublin accounted for 14.8 per cent,” he added.

In a statement issued on Thursday the SBCI said it plans to announce new on-lending partners shortly to add to its seven existing partners including AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

At the beginning of June the organisation released its annual report which highlighted an operating loss of €1.6 million, down from the previous year’s deficit of €3.7 million, and an increase in operating expenses to €4.8 million – up from €4.4 million the previous year.

Commenting on the group’s operating loss, Mr Ashmore wrote in the annual report that it is due to “the lag in the generation of income as our on-lender partners come on board and draw down funds”.