Record SME lending for Linked Finance as restrictions ease

9 Aug 2021

Linked Finance CEO Niall O'Grady. Image: Bryan Meade

Linked Finance has been lending more than ever, with growth in sectors such as trade, construction and manufacturing.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance reported record lending to Irish SMEs last month.

The Dublin-based company lent €5.5m to SMEs across Ireland in July. This figure is three times higher than the same period in 2020 and is also the highest monthly lending volume in Linked Finance’s seven-year history.

Linked Finance, which has been helping Irish SMEs during the pandemic, lent an average of €136,000 to more than 40 different businesses in July.

The company said the growth signals a rebound from the negative business sentiment at the peak of the pandemic. It added that sectors reopening following the easing of Covid restrictions, such as wholesale and retail trade, construction and manufacturing, saw strong growth in lending.

“We are delighted to report record performance in July, with strong demand for loans from businesses looking to restock and reopen as the economy begins its recovery from the Covid shock,” said Niall O’Grady, CEO of Linked Finance.

“The SME market is now clearly starting the process of recovery, although different categories are at very different stages in their recovery.”

O’Grady, a former Permanent TSB executive, joined Linked Finance as chief executive at the start of this year.

In January, it was one of the first non-bank lenders approved to offer loans under the Government’s Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, designed to offer low-cost working capital and capital expenditure loans for businesses affected by the pandemic.

In total, the company said it has issued more than €21.6m in loans so far in 2021 and is on track for a “record year”. In comparison, it lent €19m across the full year in 2019.

Since its founding in 2013, Linked Finance has lent more than €162m to more than 2,800 businesses and SMEs across all counties in Ireland, including Tara Slevin, The Agile Executive, Lolly & Cooks and Murphy’s Ice Cream.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic