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. Following a meeting of the SME working group, including representatives from member banks, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), and the IBCB it was agreed to focus on opportunities to share the available information with SMEs and Farmers.
Covid-19 has 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 in the initial months of the crisis 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.
What we did
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:
SBCI Credit Guarantee Scheme
Microfinance and Social Finance
Applying for a loan from a bank
Lending for farming businesses
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.
SME COVID-19 Financial supports