The Future Growth Loan Scheme currently makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years and is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) though participating lenders. We have seen strong demand for the scheme since its launch in April 2019, resulting in a rapid take up of the scheme. Funding made available by the scheme facilitates long-term, strategic investment.
The scheme is open to eligible SMEs and small mid-caps (businesses of up to 499 employees), including those in the primary agriculture and seafood sectors. Loans under the scheme range from €100,000 (€50,000 for farmers) to €3m per eligible business, with loans of up to €500,000 available unsecured. The initial maximum interest rate is capped at 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans more than or equal to €250,000 for the first six months.
As at 11 May 2020, the scheme has received 3,502 eligibility applications, with 3,327 approved, 160 currently in process and 16 deemed ineligible. The initial €300m funding for the Future Growth Loan Scheme has been almost fully subscribed, supporting a significant level of strategic investment by businesses. One of the participating finance providers lenders has remaining lending capacity and businesses seeking loan approval under the scheme are being directed towards this lender.
On 8 April 2020, I announced that the Future Growth Loan Scheme would be significantly expanded by a further €200m to facilitate longer-term lending to Covid-19-impacted businesses.
Officials of my Department are engaging with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Finance and the SBCI, as well as the European Investment Fund, to bring this funding to market as soon as possible, as I am conscious that Covid-19 has been a significant disruption for many businesses.