Irish peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has surpassed the €150m (£130.3m) lending milestone, after issuing €9.6m in loans in the first quarter.
Since its launch in 2013, the platform has supported over 2,700 Irish small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
At the beginning of January, Linked Finance became the first non-bank lender to offer loans through the Irish government’s Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme, which offers an 80 per cent government guarantee on business loans from €10,000 to €1m for terms of up to five-and-a-half years. The platform has already funded over €7m to SMEs through the scheme.
In Linked Finance’s key target segments of business services, retail and IT and communications, demand for finance in the first quarter has increased, on average, by over a third compared with the same time last year.
“Reaching the milestone of €150m shows the continuing migration there is by SMEs to the fast and efficient approach that alternative fintech lenders like Linked Finance can offer,” said Niall O’Grady, who joined Linked Finance as chief executive in February.
“It is a reassuring sign of the drive and ambition of Irish SMEs to see them investing in their operations with the aim of rapidly recovering as the country starts to emerge from the pandemic.
“In recent months we have seen a notable increase in lending to businesses across the retail and wholesale sector signalling positive sentiment and that restocking is taking place in advance of reopening as Covid restrictions ease.”
Last month O’Grady welcomed the extension of the Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme to make it open for applications until the end of the year.