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Financial Awareness for SME & Farmers

What we heard

This initiative sits within our Financial Awareness umbrella and our aim is to be a key enabler in preventing knowledge gaps at future stages when individuals/business owners are making significant and long-term financial decisions.

What we did

The éist Public Trust in Banking 2022 survey showed that farmers have particularly low levels of trust in their banks. Following these survey findings, work has been ongoing with the farming community to rebuild trust with the banking sector. We met with representatives from the farming community and some of the key issues that were raised relate to improving financial awareness and informing customers on how banks can serve the banking needs of farming customers. Working with the Irish Farmer’s Journal, the IBCB has launched a financial awareness series, including articles, videos, and a podcast to address some of the issues raised by farmers and highlight how member banks can support the banking needs of farming customers.
IBCB Financial Awareness for Farmers 2023 Podcast
Applying for bank finance
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Watch the video above.
Link to the article – Applying for bank finance in Ireland 04 May 2023 (
Building a relationship with your bank
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Watch the video above.

Link to the article – Building a relationship with your bank 11 May 2023 (

Banking support for a rapidly changing sector
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Watch the video above.
Link to the article – Banking support for a rapidly changing sector 18 May 2023 (
Credit products available to farmers
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Watch the video above.
Link to the article – Credit products available to farmers 26 May 2023 (

In January 2022 the IBCB facilitated a roundtable meeting with Microfinance Ireland (MFI) and member banks. MFI receives funding in part through our member banks and provides small loans to small businesses to help start-ups and established businesses to get the finance they need for their business. The focus of this meeting was as an initial roundtable discussion, and it was an opportunity for both the MFI and the banks to listen to and learn from each other regarding steps that can improve the overall process for micro-businesses to access loans.

The next steps following this discussion were that member banks and MFI agreed to look at means to improve referrals and capture more information, including such mechanisms as raising awareness of MFI with advisors and assessing which channels work best for customers, with each bank working directly with MFI on these details. Member banks and MFI also agreed to individually meet on a regular basis to ensure there is good communication between organisations and to assist with improving staff awareness in banks.

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted all aspects of Irish society and the economy and in particular, caused significant challenges for many SMEs. The IBCB consulted with key SME stakeholders and heard feedback that businesses found it difficult to navigate the range of supports available and information required to support applications was not always readily available. We raised these issues with our member banks and welcomed the significant effort made by them to put in place a range of support options for customers, including payment breaks and ongoing supports.
We ran a workshop in July 2020 with representatives from our member banks, the Small Firms Association, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, and the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation to discuss the challenges facing small business and to identify actions to support businesses. Arising from this workshop, the IBCB created our ‘Support, Share, Signpost’ initiative which looks to raise financial awareness for SMEs and Farmers through sharing and signposting relevant key information. As part of this initiative we:

Published a Signposting Guide, providing links to key financial supports in September 2020 (this guide has since been updated).

Between October 2020 and January 2021, we hosted a series of webinars aiming to helping SMEs and Farmers to improve knowledge when making financial decisions and to improve overall communication between both customers and banks. These covered the following topics:

The webinars included experts from member banks, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), Microfinance Ireland (MFI), Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Credit Review, Small Firms Association (SFA), Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), and International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). The recordings of these webinars are available below.
Video Content