The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is Ireland’s National Promotional Institution for SMEs. The goal of the SBCI is to increase the availability of appropriately priced, flexible funding to viable Irish SMEs. The SBCI’s role is to provide and promote the provision of credit to SMEs. The SBCI do not engage in direct lending, rather they work through on-lending partners to provide both loans and liquidity to support SMEs. The SBCI has a number of loan products available to assist SMEs through the current crisis, including the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.
Last March, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and its members announced a 3-month payment break would be made available for their customers, including SMEs. Following the initial payment break a further 3-month extension was announced by BPFI. As such, the Deputy should note that these payment breaks were introduced on a voluntary basis and were not done so on a statutory basis.
The SBCI engaged in a dialogue with the banks offering SBCI supported loan products (the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme). The SBCI agreed with the banks offering these loans that payment breaks can be granted on these loans, however, the decision to offer a payment break on an individual loan is the decision of the lender involved.