Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and Finance Ireland announce €50m in new funding for Irish SMEs

  • New €50m SBCI package for equipment, machinery and vehicles through Finance Ireland, a specialist SME lender
  • Builds on €400m SBCI loans already available through AIB and Bank of Ireland
  • “Supporting non-bank finance will help drive competition in Irish SME lending” CEO Nick Ashmore

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has today launched its second phase of new funding for Irish SMEs with a €50 million equipment, machinery and vehicle finance programme through specialist SME lender Finance Ireland.

The new phase builds on the successful €400 million lower-cost, longer-term loan programme for SMEs set up with AIB and Bank of Ireland earlier this year.

Finance Ireland will act as on-lender of €50 million provided by the SBCI to provide Irish SMEs with lower-cost funding for equipment, machinery and vehicles. Finance Ireland will provide flexible financing at competitive market rates.

The new products announced today are:

SME Leasing 2-5 year lending for cars, commercial vehicles, plant and machinery
Hire Purchase Similar to SME Leasing but allows SME to take ownership of the asset at the end of the financing period
Contract Hire
(Vehicle Leasing)
3-4 year terms for vehicles with a lower monthly payment than lease or hire purchase
Rental Agreements
Rental Agreements
(Vendor Finance)
2-5 year leases for smaller office equipment (photocopiers, printers) or specialist equipment for medical practitioners/dentists


The new products are available immediately, with further details available at and

Minister Michael Noonan said:

“The SBCI has been a huge success since its launch earlier this year with €400 million already made available to SMEs before today’s announcement. The new €50 million package is hugely significant as it provides additional targeted funding to SMEs for investment in machinery and vehicles required for small business to meet the demands of the growing economy.

A modern growing economy requires funding through bank and non-bank sources and Finance Ireland represents the first non-bank on-lender for SBCI. I look forward to seeing the SBCI continuing to thrive as it moves to this new phase of lending”.

SBCI Chief Executive Nick Ashmore said:

“The SBCI is here to help solve problems in the SME lending market and help SMEs to support jobs and grow their businesses.

Today we are bringing our first non-bank finance provider on-board which will help drive competition in Irish SME lending. Greater competition will make it easier and cheaper for Irish SMEs to borrow.

Finance Ireland will bring lower cost, longer term finance for SMEs who plan to invest in equipment, machinery or vehicles.

Our first phase of new SME loans, launched earlier this year through AIB and Bank of Ireland, has been a real success in addressing the needs of SMEs. We are confident that our second phase, starting today, will be equally successful.”

Finance Ireland Executive Chairman Billy Kane said:

“Most importantly, this deal will make more funding available to the SME sector which has been suffering due to a lack of available credit with so few competitors in the market.  It will also do so at a lower cost which is an additional benefit for SMEs.

Finance Ireland is delighted to be the first non-bank to be approved by the SBCI for SME funding and through our established distribution channels we will ensure that the advantage of lower cost funding is passed on in full to SMEs.  Our Direct Sales team will be interacting directly with SMEs to ensure their requirements for highly competitive loans for cars, vans, forklifts and specialist equipment are met with these funds.”

SBCI – progress so far

The SBCI will provide a minimum of €800 million in low-cost funding to Irish SMEs. These funds have been sourced by the SBCI from the European Investment Bank, German promotional bank KfW and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

The SBCI ensures that the benefits of its low-cost funding are passed on to SMEs by On-Lenders in the form of lower borrowing rates.

Over 1,600 Irish SMEs benefited from SBCI loans in the SBCI’s first four months in operation (March to June 2015), borrowing €45 million in total through AIB and Bank of Ireland.

The SBCI is also working with other bank and non-bank funding providers and bringing in new participants to the Irish market to act as On-Lenders. Further announcements of new On-Lenders will be made in the coming weeks and months.

Issued on behalf of the SBCI by
Gordon MRM
David Clerkin (087) 830 1779

Contact for Finance Ireland queries:
Kieran Garry (087) 236 8366

Background to the SBCI

  • Unlike many European countries, Ireland did not have a state development bank to sustain funding to businesses throughout the financial crisis.
  • During Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF programme in late 2013, the Taoiseach and German Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel agreed that the German promotional bank KfW would help finance the Irish SME sector.
  • It was this European agreement that led to the creation of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), ensuring that in future, Irish businesses have access to long-term, patient funding.
  • The Department of Finance and the National Treasury Management Agency worked throughout 2014 to create the necessary mechanisms to establish the SBCI.
  • Building on the initial funding offer from the KfW, the project team added funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, a new fund to which the assets of the National Pensions Reserve Fund were transferred.
  • The Government approved this approach and legislation enabling the establishment of the SBCI was passed by the Oireachtas in July 2014.
  • The SBCI was formally launched in October 2014 by the Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, together with the German Minister for Finance, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, President Werner Hoyer of the EIB and Dr Ulrich Schröder of the KfW.