To ask the Minister for Finance if it is envisaged that the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland will be available to local authorities and other regional organisations to assist in leveraging finance for small-to-medium scale infrastructure projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government on Thursday 22May 2014 announced that over €500million in additional credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
The SBCI is a new company and it is intended that it will be initially financed by the German Promotional Bank KfW, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the directed portfolio of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). The involvement of KfW follows directly from discussion between the Taoiseach and Chancellor Merkel following Ireland’s successful exit from the EU/IMF Programme on finding ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery.
Credit is the lifeblood of all businesses and SMEs will now be able to access loans of greater duration, with enhanced terms and potentially at a lower cost facilitated by the SBCI and its on-lending partners. Augmenting the SME credit landscape in Ireland, the SBCI will encourage greater competition in the SME lending sector, promoting economic growth and job creation in this key sector of our economy. The Government will be prioritising the passage of the required legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas and I expect the SBCI to be facilitating lending before the end of this year.
The SBCI will be concentrating on the provision of credit to SMEs in its initial phase of operation. It is envisaged that its role will grow over time.