Ulster Bank ‘open for business’ as €2bn in SME and mortgage funds unveiled

Agri-food and drink, healthcare, ICT and med-tech companies are among those set to benefit from Ulster Bank’s €1.2bn fund for SMEs.

The bank also unveiled its €850m mortgage fund to 200 business leaders attending a breakfast seminar in Cork yesterday. Guest speakers included clients who had switched to Ulster from rival banks.

“When we started, our parent bank wouldn’t back us,” said Tom Kearney, founder of Spice Of Life. “Now we use Ulster Bank and Lombard for all our financing. We wanted someone who would come in and understand our business. We now have a business relationship which we didn’t have with our previous bank.

“As our business expands, space is a big issue for us, which requires investment. We’re about to finish a bottling plant, which will give us an extra 7,000 square feet.

“We also need to carry a lot of stock. We get our packaging from Portugal, herbs from Spain, and ingredients from Germany and Holland. Ulster Bank helped us to get into large volume buying and invoice discounting.”

Having started in 1998 with two staff, the firm now employs 23 people in Dunmanway, Co Cork.

The seminar also had inputs from other clients, including Powervation and DPS Engineering.

Sam Beamish, head of Ulster Bank’s Cork business centre, said the SME fund would be of significant benefit to expanding business throughout the country. The personal mortgage fund could help build confidence in home buyers and in commercial real estate.

“Our message is simple, we have money to lend,” said Mr Beamish. “We have teams on the ground to meet people and visit companies…

“We are looking at everything from local retail to international trade… If people want to come and talk to us, we are open for business.”


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