Bank of Ireland Business Banking (today, 17th December) confirmed that it has achieved and will exceed its €3.5bn SME lending target for 2012. This figure represents the Bank’s approvals for new and increased credit facilities for businesses and farmers. Credit approved for customers seeking restructured facilities are excluded from these figures as reported by Bank of Ireland.
The €3.5bn represents a 16% increase in approvals year to date when compared with 2011 which is as a result of increased demand from several sectors in the Irish economy. Commenting, Mark Cunningham, Director of Business Banking, Bank of Ireland said “We are pleased to have exceeded our SME lending target for 2012 and remain focussed on our strategic objective of increasing our lending to Irish businesses and farmers. We have seen particular increases in demand from customers in the healthcare, manufacturing and hospitality sectors, while Agri lending has also remained strong. Increased demand for Asset and Commercial loan finance has also been a feature. Of particular importance is the fact that lending to businesses and farmers has increased in all regions throughout Ireland, under-pinning the Bank’s confidence in its nationwide branch network. Lending to Dublin businesses was up by 27% compared to last year. With over 40% of businesses located in the capital this indicates that confidence is slowly returning, as evidenced by the growth we have been seeing in credit demand from viable businesses in the second half of this year .”
Bank of Ireland has just completed its seventh National Enterprise Programme which saw over 5,000 businesses and farmers attend 80 events and networking meetings. 1,500 businesses also took the opportunity to showcase their products and services in Bank of Ireland branches. In 2013, the Bank will be rolling out a series of free SME Lending Clinics which aim to explain the lending application process primarily to start up and micro-sized businesses.