SBCI launches €70m specialist leasing fund with Fexco
The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and Fexco Asset Finance has launched a €70m leasing fund for Irish SMEs.
Businesses can avail of a 1.57pc discount for specialist equipment and vehicle leasing as part of the new fund.
The spend brings the SBCI's total investment in lower cost loans up to €906m across eight lending partners, five of which are non-banks.
Fexco currently offers leasing finance on the likes of fixed equipment, machinery, and vehicles, which Irish firms can use the SBCI-backed discount on.
SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore said the State-backed entity's lending programme was "gathering momentum".
"We are pleased to close out 2016 by partnering with FEXCO whose product offering will cover, in particular, asset types which have traditionally been more difficult for businesses to finance such as fixed equipment and plant machinery," he said.
Over the course of the year SBCI has provided funding Ulster Bank, First Citizen, Bibby Financial Services, and Fexco.
It was established in early 2015 and has since facilitated over 8,600 loans.
Fexco chief executive Mike O'Halloran welcomed the SBCI backing.
"The €70m fund will be available to SMEs for the finance of business assets which can support growth while facilitating improved cash flow management," he said.
Fexco was founded in Kerry in 1981 and now operates across 29 counties and employs over 2,300 people in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and America.
The SBCI, which was set up by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to encourage SME lending, has developed its services to include a range of products including working capital, investment, agri, invoice, and fleet financing.
On average, SMEs receive a discount of around 1.5pc on market rates on the loans.
The SBCI Fexco tie-up comes ahead of the launch of a low-cost agri fund for farmers due to be launched in the new year.
Agricultural minister Michael Creed has tipped the new scheme to be open for business in January 2017.
Minister Noonan announced the availability of €150m for an agricultural cash flow support fund on Budget day last month. The fund will offer interest rates of around 2.95pc.