Bank of Ireland is open for business for farmers looking to expand.

At yesterday’s Bank of Ireland ‘Agri and Food Conference’ in Kilkenny, bank officials told the audience that the general approval rate for loan applications was running at 80 per cent and that the agri-food sector was enjoying an even higher success rate. 

“We have a very favourable outlook on farming, particularly the dairy sector post-2015,” said Sean Farrell, head of agriculture with Bank of Ireland Business Banking, who added that it is constantly driving the message that the bank is happy to extend credit to the agri-food sector.

“We believe Irish farming has significant advantages over other markets and we are interested in lending to agri and food businesses. That said, every loan application is individual, and the applicant must be able to prove their capacity to repay the loan.”

Mark Cunningham, director of Bank of Ireland Business Banking, said it was great to see an emphasis being put on increasing innovation and transformation by big employers and successful business leaders in Kilkenny.

“At Bank of Ireland, we are lending to 500 small businesses and farmers every week across the country,” he said. “Our total approved lending to the SME and agri sectors of €2.7bn to the end Sept 2013 was six per cent ahead of approval levels in the same period during 2012. More than 80 per cent of all loan applications to the bank from SMEs are approved for credit.”

He said figures show an uplift in new lending approvals across retail, manufacturing and property sectors.

Pictured at the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Week Conference at the Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny was from left Simon Coveney TD Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food; Helen Gee, G’s Gourmet Jams Ltd and Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher/Picture Dylan Vaughan.