Irish peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has been granted an additional €5m (4.32m) under the government’s Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme (CCGS) and has launched a new loan to support the hospitality sector.
The platform has already lent over €10m worth of loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) since it became the first non-bank lender to offer loans under the CCGS in January.
Linked Finance has now launched a ‘recharge SMEs’ product which will provide pubs, restaurants, accommodation providers and cafes with a loan of up to €50,000 to help them reopen, restock and rehire as pandemic restrictions are eased.
In Ireland, hotels reopened from 2 June and from 7 June, bars and restaurants have reopened for outdoor service.
The term of the loan is 13 months, with no repayment due for the first month. At the start of the pandemic Linked Finance applied a blanket two-month payment break to all its loans across the restaurant, bar, pub and hotel trades, alongside other flexible payment initiatives.
The platform has facilitated €13m to SMEs across Ireland, including through CCGS and non-CCGS lending, to the end of April of the year, a 19 per cent year-on-year increase since the start of the pandemic.
The company said it has seen strong growth in lending across all sectors, in particular among those returning to operations, following the easing of restrictions, including wholesale and retail trade, construction and manufacturing.
The CCGS is designed to offer low cost working capital and capital expenditure loans for businesses affected by Covid-19. Linked Finance can offer borrowers decisions on loans from €20,000 to €250,000 in under 24 hours from receiving the application.
“We are delighted that Linked Finance has been approved for an additional €5m in lending through the government’s Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme,” said Niall O’Grady, chief executive of Linked Finance.
“Being allocated a second tranches demonstrates the success of alternative lenders participating in the scheme, and shows the improving range of options there are for businesses looking to access finance fast and efficiently in a seamless online process.
“With the hospitality sector reopening we are conscious that many businesses in the sector will require working capital to reopen, restock, rehire.
“Our new recharge SMEs loan will allow companies to access up to €50,000 to support their immediate needs and help them to get back trading in what we hope will be a bumper summer for the industry.”