Bank of Ireland has already issued €39.1 million under the low-cost loan scheme; representing 60% of its allocation under the scheme, according to its Director of Business Banking, Mark Cunningham.

Cunningham was speaking at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to discuss the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s (SBCI’s) Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme.

He represented Bank of Ireland alongside its Head of Agriculture, John Fitzgerald, at the meeting yesterday.

“To date, the bank has issued €39.1 million of the funding available, which represents 60% of its allocation.

Another €12.7 million has been approved and is available to be drawn down, with a further €13.2 million to be processed to approval stage to fulfil our commitment under the scheme.

“Additional resources are being deployed to process loans to get the remaining balance drawn down as quickly as possible and we anticipate this will happen over the coming weeks,” Cunningham said.

Meeting with the joint committee

He reportedly outlined to the committee that Bank of Ireland is the largest lender to the Irish economy. Cunningham claimed that Bank of Ireland’s new lending services in 2016 amounted to €6.7 billion.

He also outlined that Bank of Ireland holds more than a 50% share of new lending to the agriculture and ‘small and medium-sized enterprise’ (SME) sectors.

Year-to-date, new lending to agriculture is in line with the same period in 2016. That said, we are seeing an increased volume of applications for funding in line with a recovery in commodity pricing in certain sectors, particularly from dairy farmers.

Bank of Ireland managed €65 million under the SBCI scheme, which was the largest allocation of the three participating banks.

Due to a ‘very strong demand‘ for the loans, Bank of Ireland confirmed that it had received the adequate number of applications to fully utilise its allocation – within four weeks.

“As Ireland’s largest lender, and the provider of more than 50% of funding to the agriculture sector, Bank of Ireland is also managing the lending of €65 million to farmers as part of the SBCI scheme,” Cunningham said.

Breakdown of Bank of Ireland loans under the scheme

The average loan value drawn under the scheme through Bank of Ireland is currently worth €29,000; the average term length equals 31 months.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland has revealed that the beef sector has accounted for 57% of the total value of monies drawn down under the scheme so far.

The funding is typically used to finance the purchase of trading stock over periods of up to 24 months, Bank of Ireland added.

The dairy sector follows in at second place, with 28% of the total value of loans already issued. The tillage sector accounts for just 9% of the total value of loans drawn down to date.

Meanwhile, the sheep and pig sectors accounted for 2% and 1% respectively, of the total value of loans issued so far. Loans falling under the ‘other’ category account for 3% of the total.

Cunningham confirmed that 38% of the loans issued by Bank of Ireland were for terms of greater than four years.

Some 24% of funding was provided for terms between two and three years. 38% of funding was provided over a 12-month term, he added.