Covid 19 Credit Guarantee Scheme SME & Agri Finance

Finance Ireland

Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a challenge to society and the business community in ways that many of us could never have imagined. The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is designed to help support and facilitate the recovery of SMEs by providing access to low cost funding. Find out more below.

The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme was introduced by the government in September 2020.  The scheme is designed to support additional lending to SMEs, Primary Producers and small Mid-Caps who have been adversely impacted as a result of Covid-19.

The Scheme is made available by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). Further details can be found on the SBCI Website.

Go to Government of Ireland Website

Key Features Summary

  • Asset backed finance ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €1,000,000
  • Finance made available by way of Hire Purchase and Lease agreement.
  • Terms of between 3 months to 5.5 years.
  • Loans will be available until 30th June 2022 or until it is fully subscribed.
  • Finance Ireland will provide a blended discount rate of 15% off our standard rates. Rates range from 4.25% to 7.58% depending on product, sector and risk, in addition as part of the approval and qualification for the Scheme.

How to apply.

Click Here to download and print the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme application form.  Please forward completed forms by post to Finance Ireland Leasing at the address below or scan and email to

Finance Ireland Leasing,
Clerkin House,
85 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge,
Dublin 4, DO4 YN53, Ireland

What is the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been extremely disruptive for many businesses throughout Ireland. The purpose of the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is to provide businesses who have experienced disruption in their activities with access to low-cost funding.

SME’s who have been affected by Covid-19 can apply for the purchase of both new and used assets by way of non-consumer Hire Purchase or Lease agreements.

For more detail refer to:

Who can apply for the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme?

The scheme has been designed for businesses that;

  • have experienced a reduction of at least 15% in actual or projected turnover or profit to due to Covid-19 and;
  • are having difficulty accessing other means of credit.
  • are defined as an SME or a Small Midcap

An entity qualifies as a Small Medium Enterprise if it meets each of the following criteria:

  • Less than 250 employees.
  • An annual turnover of less than €50m, and/or a balance sheet total less than €43m.
  • The enterprise is an independent, autonomous entity (or, if part of a wider group of enterprises, the entire group must qualify as an SME).
  • Less than 25% of capital voting rights held by public bodies.
  • The enterprise has a significant presence in Ireland.

A small mid-cap is an enterprise that is not an SME but has fewer than 500 employees.

Please refer to for comprehensive detail on qualifying criteria.


Who cannot apply for the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme?

Businesses cannot apply for the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme if:

  • the business is bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts.
  • in the last five years the business has entered into an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts.

In addition, the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme cannot be used for:

  • Refinance of debt incurred pre the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity.

Please refer to for comprehensive detail on qualifying criteria.

What happens after I apply?

When you have completed the application form please return to by email to or by post to the address below;

Finance Ireland Leasing,
Clerkin House,
85 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge,
Dublin 4, DO4 YN53, Ireland.

We pride ourselves on our flexibility and efficiency. We make all of our credit decisions locally, which means we can review applications for funding much faster than most other providers. Once we have received an application, we aim to have it reviewed within 2 business days. In the event that more information is required, you will be contacted by one of our business managers or the intermediary that submitted the application on your behalf.

What is a NACE Code?

A NACE code, or the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community, is the European Union’s system for categorising different business sectors. You can find a full list of NACE codes that qualify for the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme on the SBCI Website or by clicking here.
If you are unsure about your NACE code, you can leave this blank and it will be completed by a member of our admin team.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow €10,000 up to a maximum €1,000,000.  The maximum amount of the credit that is permitted to be advanced to a borrower under the Scheme cannot exceed €1m, and will be determined by one of the following criteria.

  • 25% of the borrower’s total turnover in 2019.
  • double the borrower’s annual wage bill for 2019 or for the last year available. In the case of a borrower created on or after 1 January 2019, the maximum loan must not exceed the estimated annual wage bill for the first two years in operation.

In limited cases and with appropriate justification, the amount of the loan may be increased to cover the liquidity needs of the borrower from the moment of granting for the coming 18 months for SMEs and for the coming 12 months for Small Mid-Caps.

What are the Scheme costs?

As Facilities under the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme benefits from a guarantee, you will need to pay a Premium on the Facility. The Premium is payable to the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment and will be collected along with your regular repayments by Finance Ireland and paid directly to the department.

The premium rate that will apply will depend on the size of the business and the length of time for which the credit is being advanced, as per the tables below:

Duration of Facility 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 5.5 Year
Rate % 0.15 0.26 0.29 0.50 0.61 0.68
Small Mid-Caps
Duration of Facility 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 5.5 Year
Rate % 0.30 0.63 0.73 1.19 1.40 1.55


Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme Application Form

If you have any queries in relation to the completion of the application form please contact by phone or email using the details below.

File type: PDF
Media size: 0.31 MB

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