Barclays launches £100mn loan fund to support Northern Ireland SMEs

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Barclays has launched a £100mn fund to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ireland. Barclays, which has been supporting businesses in Northern Ireland for over 20 years, is making up to £100mn available to local businesses with a turnover of less than £25mn.

Making the announcement at last night’s (Thursday 19 May) CBI annual dinner in Belfast, Adrian Doran, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays Northern Ireland said: “SMEs are the driving force of our local economy. This is the first time we have launched a loan fund specifically for SMEs in Northern Ireland, and is evidence of our commitment to growing our customer base.”

Barclays can support businesses of all sizes, and with significant experience of SMEs across the UK, the bank is keen to bring its market leading technology as well as specialist knowledge to businesses in Northern Ireland.

Mr Doran continued: “We believe we are really well equipped to help local SMEs grow their businesses. We have a long history of banking many of Northern Ireland’s largest companies, and in addition we have a huge amount of knowledge from being a major player in the SME banking market in the UK.

“We have a tremendous digital platform, having been the first bank to launch innovations such as a mobile payment service, and pre-assessed lending limits. Our newly launched High Growth team also means that we can help the next generation of entrepreneurs. We want to be the bank of choice for anyone starting or growing their business.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster commented: “I welcome Barclays’ latest commitment to supporting Northern Ireland’s small and medium sized businesses, the lifeblood of the Northern Ireland economy.

“The Northern Ireland Executive has always been encouraged by the banking sector’s expansion into the SME sector and I very much welcome this new £100million lending fund from Barclays which will support a significant number of local businesses.

“I give my assurance that the Northern Ireland Executive will continue to do all in its power to support small to medium sized businesses to thrive and grow.”

Barclays also recently announced the hiring of senior banker John Mathers as Corporate Development Director, with a remit to lead the bank’s recruitment of new SME customers.

The £100mn pledge follows Barclays’ latest commitment with a dedicated solution to support fast growing companies - Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneurs, which includes two direct funds for innovative companies. Barclays research reveals the number of start-ups in Northern Ireland was up by 12% in the last year.