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Financer wants banks on its SME funding collaboration plans

Accelerated Payments has approached banks to boost collaboration in SME lending

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Ian Duffy

Ian Duffy

Ian Duffy

Accelerated Payments, an SME funding provider headquartered in Dublin, has approached banks in Ireland as it seeks to collaborate with them in providing more funding to SMEs.

Last week, the company, which also has operations in the UK and Canada, announced a collaboration with UK invoice finance company Optimum Finance. The agreement will see the two companies remain separate but work together to provide funding to SMEs, with the partnership meaning they can maximise the amount of working capital clients can access.

Speaking with the Sunday Independent following the collaboration, Ian Duffy, the chief executive of Accelerated Payments, said he wants to bring the model to Ireland and hoped the main banks would consider it.

“I’d be keen to get the collaboration going in the Irish market with the main banks,” he said. “I think there is an opportunity, they are more conservative, and they will be maybe constrained from a credit perspective as well… The end game should be about getting the SME funded and if on a combined basis we can get a particular small business funded, isn’t that success?”

He added: “We are structured to collaborate with that community. It’s not something that has been done in the past, but I do think there is a market opportunity to do it and to do it to the benefit of the SME, ourselves and the bank. If the SME is stronger, then they are going to be in a better position to repay any debt back to the bank over the next two or three years.”

Duffy confirmed Accelerated Payments had already approached banks in Ireland regarding the collaboration.

“We have made initial approaches,” he said. “We are in conversations, but there is nothing concrete yet.”

Duffy said Accelerated Payments was preparing itself for when there is a transition from public sector Covid-19 supports and lending falls back to the private sector. He expects three things when this happens — a contraction of credit availability in the SME sector, impaired balance sheets among some SMEs creating challenges, and credit insurance becoming less available, or not, for industries such as hospitality and travel.

“Companies like ourselves and other players in the SME funding space are going to come across cases that they can’t do,” he said. “By partnering and collaborating, they will be able to bring in other parties that can do it, or may be able to do it on a combined basis.”

Duffy said Accelerated Payments had plans to grow its funding book to up to €60m by the end of this year. Up to 75pc of the loan book would be in the UK, around 15pc in Ireland and the balance across the US and Canada.

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