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SMEs struggling to access Covid-19 loans and supports

Sunday Independent investigation reveals widespread issues with SBCI loans

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'AIB confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the Working Capital Loan Scheme was not fully allocated at the time.' (stock image)

'AIB confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the Working Capital Loan Scheme was not fully allocated at the time.' (stock image)

'AIB confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the Working Capital Loan Scheme was not fully allocated at the time.' (stock image)

Small businesses are finding it close to impossible to access the State's Covid-19 loan scheme, according to sources within the business community.

The Sunday Independent spoke with several Irish businesses and advisers, who shared concerns over the State's Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) scheme. Issues included long processing times for applications, the process being complicated, banks changing repayment terms, companies being rejected, and some being told the scheme was fully allocated.

One source said he had heard of companies experiencing long waiting times and then being told by banks that the SBCI fund was fully allocated. He shared an email in which a company sought a Covid-19 loan from AIB, understood to be the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme. In response, AIB told the company its SBCI fund was fully allocated, but it is still accepting some applications in case more funding is made available.