Farmers cash in as SMEs loaned €544m
Loans totalling €544m have been provided to small and medium-sized businesses by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
Figures released yesterday show that a total of 12,593 SMEs drew down loans between March of 2015 and December of last year.
The average size of the loans to SMEs was €43,200, with almost a quarter (23pc) being provided to companies in the farming industry.
The SBCI noted that there had been strong demand for loan supports in the agricultural sector in order to support cash flows.
Last month, the SBCI launched an "Agricultural Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme" that will allow farmers and agri-businesses to borrow up to €150,000 at a rate of 2.95pc in a bid to address difficult market conditions that they have faced recently.
The food and accommodation sectors received 13.6pc of the overall loans, while businesses engaged in administration accounted for 10pc of the total drawn down.
The loans provided support 67,000 jobs across the Irish economy. The SBCI has been able to expand lending to SMEs as a result of risk sharing arrangements entered into with the Government and the European Investment Bank.
"We are pleased to report today that we have put over half a billion euro to work in the Irish economy, supporting SMEs and supporting jobs," said Nick Ashmore, ceo of the SBCI.