Tánaiste Welcomes Credit Union Participation in COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme

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Three further non-bank lenders also on board

More options for Irish SMEs and primary producers

14 January 2021 The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D.  today (Thursday, 14th of January) announced the participation of Metamo Credit Unions and three non-bank lenders: Linked Finance, CapitalFlow and Finance Ireland, in the Government’s €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme is the biggest ever state-backed loan guarantee in Ireland.  The Scheme offers an 80% Government guarantee to participating lenders to provide Irish businesses, including those in the farming and fishing sectors, with access to low interest loans as they respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

The Tánaiste said:

“This is really welcome news. The inclusion of Credit Unions means more options for SMEs seeking to take out a loan. Credit Unions are embedded in communities across the country and business owners will be able to seek advice from staff who they already have an existing relationship with.  The inclusion of three non-bank lenders too, means more choice for business customers. We will continue to diversify the lenders participating in this Scheme.

 “The Credit Guarantee Scheme is the largest ever state-backed loan guarantee in our history. We are using our good credit rating to help Irish businesses borrow more cheaply during these really difficult times. This Scheme is just one of the ways we are helping, there is a package of grants, wage subsidies, tax relief, advice and training available to businesses who are struggling during this really difficult time.”

The seven Metamo Credit Unions involved have a combined membership of circa 250,000 members, and are: Cara Credit Union, Mallow Credit Union, First Choice Credit Union, People First Credit Union, St Canice’s Credit Union, Limerick & District Credit Union, and Synergy Credit Union.

Loans provided under the scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million. Interest rates will vary depending on the loan, however they will be lower than would otherwise be available in the market. To apply for the scheme, businesses can contact a participating finance provider directly.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Séan Fleming said:

“I warmly welcome the announcement that seven Metamo credit unions will be participating in the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. Credit unions are ideally placed at the heart of local communities to support the recovery and providing loans to local businesses is a key element of the recovery. Further development of SME lending in a controlled manner could also assist credit unions in growing and diversifying their loan book.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD said:

“I welcome the addition of new lenders to the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. Credit unions play an important role in rural communities and their inclusion along with the three non-bank lenders provides greater choice for farmers, fishers and food businesses. In this time of economic disruption, access to finance is critical to ensuring the ongoing viability of businesses, including those in the agri-food sector and I am delighted that my Department is supporting this initiative.”

The scheme is operated by the SBCI and delivered through the participating finance providers, allowing affected businesses to access additional financing through traditional lenders. More Credit Unions and non-bank finance providers are finalising their operations and legal agreements and are expected to be ready to offer loans under the COVID Credit Guarantee Scheme in the next weeks.

SBCI CEO Nick Ashmore said:

“The SBCI is delighted to see the inclusion of Credit Unions for the first time in the Government’s Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. This addition, along with three further non-bank scheme partners, is a welcome development in the enhancement of competition in the Irish finance market and in support of a wider choice of finance provider for SMEs.”

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