Irish government launches invoice financing fund

The SBCI is working with Bibby to manage a €45m fund targeting lending to SMEs against unpaid invoices.

Bibby Financial Services (BFS) is working alongside the Irish government in managing an invoice financing fund.

€45 million of funding is available to Irish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking capital assistance for growth and development. Invoice financing is a lending strategy, where businesses can lend against outstanding invoices. According to BFS’s website, payments can be made within 24 hours of a borrower making a request.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) will work with BFS on managing the fund. It is the first time the Irish institution has worked with an invoice financing partner as the bank continues to expand its work with alternative investment funds. So far, the SBCI has worked with four non-bank lenders and seven online lending firms.

Michael Noonan, Irish minister for finance, said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the Irish economy so ensuring the finance needs of these businesses are met in today’s economic environment is therefore a priority.”

Steve Box, chief executive of BFS, said: “This agreement will act as stimulus to the Irish economy and forms part of our overall aim to support an increasing number of businesses in Ireland.”

The development comes as the trend towards invoice financing is increasing. In April, a study from UK-based Amicus Finance found that more than half of SMEs have used or considered alternative forms of finance, including invoice financing. The trend was backed up by a recent report published by the Asset Based Finance Association which estimated around £711 million (€852 million; $941 million) was lent against outstanding invoices across UK and Ireland in the first quarter of 2016.