Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD today welcomed the agreement of the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to an increase in the amount of funding available to farmers under the Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) of up to €120million.
Minister Creed said, “There has been a high level of interest by farmers and therefore I decided to request the increase to ensure there would be no availability issues for primary agriculture. This agreement with the EIF and the SBCI doubles the amount available to farmers to €120million. This is a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security. It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banking institution”.
The loans are competitively priced with an initial maximum loan interest rate of 4.5% for loans less than €250,000. The loans are for terms of 8-10 years and unsecured up to €500,000. This type of innovative finance, which has been previously unavailable in the Irish market, will support strategic long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment. A minimum loan amount of €100,000 applies up to a maximum of €3,000,000 per applicant. However, considering the needs of Irish farmers, a specific minimum of €50,000 was negotiated for them.
As a joint initiative between the two Departments, Minister Creed acknowledged the role played by his colleague Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, facilitated by the Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe TD. He also acknowledged the role of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), who developed and administer the Scheme in partnership with the participating banks.
Minister Humphreys added,
I am particularly pleased at the large volume of applications that has been received from businesses. This is a time of great change and it is more important than ever that businesses invest to secure their future. This scheme has met a need for affordable long-term finance to support that investment.
Nick Ashmore, Chief Executive, SBCI commented,
The Future Growth Loan Scheme is up and running with €75 million allocated to date and an active pipeline that will provide increased access for longer term finance for SMEs and farmers. This is a good example of the Irish farming and SME sector benefiting from valuable Government support delivered with the EIB Group and the SBCI, not only in the context of Brexit, but also in allowing them to invest for the future.