Bank of Ireland Now Providing Agri Finance under Brexit Impact Loan Scheme to Prepare Farmers for a More Challenging Future

Following the recent Government launch of the Brexit Impact Loan Scheme (BILS) Bank of Ireland has once again underlined its commitment to supporting the agri sector.

While current high commodity prices have insulated Irish beef farmers from any direct negative Brexit impact, the Bank says the longer term picture for beef could well be more challenging, with Irish beef likely to end up competing more in commodity markets once the full effects of Brexit hit home.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls, due to come into effect next year, will create a further trade barrier at the same time as British supermarkets move to sourcing British meat on an exclusive basis. Irish beef farmers will also be competing with New Zealand and Australian exporters following on from freshly signed post-Brexit UK trade deals. Farmers will therefore need to continue investing on their farms to drive productivity, enabling them to compete in more global commodity markets.

To help farmers meet these challenges, Bank of Ireland has become the first Irish bank to introduce the BILS, which provides low-cost loans to Brexit-impacted Irish businesses, including those in the primary agriculture and seafood sectors. The Brexit Impact Loan Scheme (BILS) is a successor to the Brexit Loan Scheme, delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating lenders, and provides low-cost loans to eligible Brexit-impacted businesses.

Speaking following the launch of the BILS scheme, Eoin Lowry, Head of Agri at Bank of Ireland said: “The agri market picture in Ireland is currently very strong, and Bank of Ireland agri loan applications and drawdowns powered ahead in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year. However, we can already see the winds of change sweeping across the sector, especially as the harsh realities of Brexit become apparent. 90% of everything that Irish farmers produce is exported, and our focus is to ensure that customers are ready to adapt their businesses to meet the ongoing market changes, and can continue to thrive no matter what market conditions exist.

“The new Brexit Impact Loan Scheme provides access to low-cost loans of between €25,000 and €1.5m, and we have a high approval rate for agri loans demonstrating our appetite to support the sector. This is only going to continue as the domestic agriculture landscape evolves, but the challenges ahead are ones that the sector is well primed to handle. I would encourage any farmer looking to invest in or diversify their farming enterprise to make contact with us as soon as they can.”

With over 40,000 farming customers, and more than 50% share of new lending to the agri sector, Bank of Ireland’s ongoing commitment to supporting Irish farmers and agri workers will be further strengthened by the BILS. The Bank stands ready to support farmers with cashflow and flexible loans that take account of this ongoing volatility in global agri markets.