The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 400 million for investment by SMEs across Ireland through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland launched in Dublin earlier today. The SBCI has been created by the Irish government to improve access to finance by Irish companies and will provide simple access for long-term and low cost loans.

“Growth of companies in countries across Europe is hindered by continued limited access to finance. Concerted action, such as the creation of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, plays a critical role and I am sure that other countries in Europe will closely follow this model. The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 400m for the SBCI that will enable the new institution to improve access to finance by Irish companies through attractively priced funding essential for investment, creating jobs and exploiting new business opportunities. The SBCI will provide a highly effective complementary channel to ensure that finance reaches final beneficiaries and the real economy faster.” said European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer.

The President of the European Investment Bank highlighted the support of Europe’s long-term lending institution at the launch at Farmleigh, the official Irish State guest house, attended by Michael Noonan, Irish Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, German Finance Minister, KfW CEO Dr Ulrich Schröder and Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President responsible for Ireland.

The European Investment Bank has further contributed to the creation of the SBCI by sharing experience gained working with intermediary banks across Europe to support lending to SMEs. The EUR 400m EIB loan will be alongside additional support from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund and KfW.

In the last five years the European Investment Bank has worked with AIB, the Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank to provide more than EUR 610 million for firms in all counties. This close cooperation has allowed the EIB to support investment by more than 3,000 Irish companies, employing 19,000 people.

Earlier this week the European Investment Bank agreed to provide an additional EUR 100m for investment in new links to connect wind farms in the south west of Ireland with the national transmission network.

During 2013 the European Investment Bank stepped up its lending activity in Ireland by more than a third and provided EUR 680m in long-term low-cost loans to support key infrastructure and private sector investment across the country.