Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD launches the new SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

Dublin, Ireland, July 10th Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD today formally launched the revised SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, joined by Suzanne Sweeney, Head of Lending, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI); Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking with AIB; Michael Lauhoff, Director of Business Banking with BOI; and Olaf Fitzsimmons, Head of SME Banking with Ulster Bank.   

The new scheme replaces the 2012 Scheme which expired in June and increases the guarantee to participating financial providers from 75% to 80% on qualified loans to SMEs. Its aim is to assist viable SMEs, which under normal lending criteria are unable to borrow from their bank, in accessing credit.  The Scheme’s key features include facilities of €10,000 up to €1,000,000; terms of up to 7 years; term loans, demand loans and performance bonds.

Launching the Scheme today (July 10th) Minister Breen said:

“It is critical to Ireland’s continued economic growth that our almost 250,000 SMEs are encouraged and facilitated to reach their full potential. Access to adequate credit facilities remains a major barrier in this regard. The Government is committed to helping SMEs to overcome obstacles to growth and productivity and so I am delighted to formally launch the new Credit Guarantee Scheme. 

The previous scheme was effective in helping those SMEs that may have had inadequate collateral; that operated in perceived higher-risk or novel business markets, sectors or technologies; and that required refinancing due to the exit of a lender from the market. The relaunched scheme is designed to be even more effective. It increases the guarantee to financial providers from 75% – 80%, has a lower premium charge for the first year, and has the potential for extension beyond the banks to other financial providers.”

Suzanne Sweeney, Head of Lending of SBCI, said:

“SBCI is pleased to support the formal launch today of the new Credit Guarantee Scheme 2017. The scheme complements the existing functions of the SBCI in providing greater access to finance for SMEs. It is also evidence of the Government’s commitment to provide ongoing support for SMEs, enabling them to scale and grow their businesses.

 The new scheme facilitates increased credit risk appetite by providing on-lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 80% on the facility value; allows for a more efficient operational structure and; has resulted in greater interest from on-lenders. 

We look forward to working closely with AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank from here, to deliver the enhanced aspects of the new scheme to market.”