Finance Ministers to launch SME bank today

A total of €800m is being made available for lending to small and medium businesses by a new State-backed scheme.

Finance Ministers to launch SME bank today

A total of €800m is being made available for lending to small and medium businesses by a new State-backed scheme.

Ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will launch the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland - and will be joined by Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Shauble.

He says it will boost Ireland's economy and contribute to Europe.

The initiative will be administered by retail banks - and be backed jointly by Irish, German and European funding.

SCBI's lending rates are expected to come in at 1% lower than the market rate - as well as longer durations.

If there is enough demand, it is hoped that the scheme could facilitate up to €4bn in lending to the sector.

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