Linked Finance crosses €250m mark in loans to Irish SMEs

3 Jul 2023

Image: Paul Sherwood/Coalesce

As Ulster Bank and KBC leave the Irish market, demand for alternative lending platforms such as Linked Finance has surged.

Irish lending platform Linked Finance has reached a significant milestone as it announced today (3 July) that it has surpassed €250m in loans to SMEs across the country.

The Dublin-based company lent more than €31m to companies in the first half of this year, which it said is an almost 90pc increase over the same period last year.

Now, Linked Finance expects 2023 to be its busiest year yet, with a forecast to reach €65m in loans by the end of the year, representing an average growth of 50pc in each of the last three years. Overall, the peer-to-peer platform hopes to grow annual lending to €100m by 2025.

Niall O’Grady, CEO of Linked Finance, said that the latest milestone reflects the confidence Irish SMEs have in the company at a time when competition in the banking sector is decreasing. This follows the departure of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish banking market.

“With a strong focus on customer satisfaction and an outstanding team, the platform has built a reputation for providing fast and flexible financing options to businesses across a wide range of sectors,” O’Grady said. “Our customer surveys show customer satisfaction ratings of 98pc for this year which ensures our customers return to the platform.”

The business, which provided loans to Irish SMEs during the pandemic, has lent to more than 2,500 different SMEs through the facilitation of more than 3,800 loans in total. It is now planning new product launches in 2024 to continue to ride this wave of demand.

O’Grady cited new figures from the Central Bank of Ireland that show total household savings have reached €152bn by 2023 but argued that savers are “typically receiving low-level returns”.

“At Linked Finance, we are facilitating access to much-needed funding for thousands of businesses, enabling them to innovate, expand and create jobs, while simultaneously offering retail investors very competitive rates.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic