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.
Our SME working group initially identified product selection and education, the credit application process and risk management awareness as key areas for SMEs. In light of COVID-19, SMEs need access to finance supports and information regarding the best financial support options available for them. 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.
What we did
The IBCB published a signposting guide in September, further updated in October 2020, which is available on our website, to direct SMEs and Farmers to available financial supports.
Separately, the IBCB has hosted a webinar series “Support, Share, Signpost” from October 2020 to January 2021, with the aim of
- Supporting business customers of member banks, by increasing financial awareness and offering a means for customers to engage directly with banks
- Sharing information on available support options with customers and listing to customer feedback and questions
- Signposting where to go for more information.
The webinars focussed on the following topics:
- Credit Guarantee Scheme
- Microfinance and Social Finance
- Apply for debt products from a bank
- Lending for farming businesses
The webinars included experts from member banks, SBCI, Microfinance Ireland, Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Credit Review, SFA, BPFI, IFA, and IFAC. The recordings of these webinars are available on the IBCB website.
SME COVID-19 Financial supports