Bank of Ireland hands out £200m in loans ahead of Enterprise Week
Bank of Ireland has agreed to more than £200m in business loans since the start of the 2015, with lending up by one-fifth in the last year.
The bank said demand for business lending is continuing to grow strongly - with £600m given to Northern Ireland businesses in 2014.
That was up 20% on the previous year. And lending rates at the bank are growing this year - with £200m of loans in the first three months of 2015.
It comes as the Bank of Ireland UK launches its latest Enterprise Week programme, which will see more than 1,000 businesses getting involved in events throughout Northern Ireland.
That with include a 'Meet the Buyer' event in Armagh, as well as networking and go-karting at Eddie Irvine's centre in Bangor.
Bank of Ireland's Ian Sheppard - regional director of business and corporate banking Northern Ireland - said the latest Enterprise Week is "taking place at a time when we are seeing strong signs of economic growth, particularly in the small and medium sized business sectors".
"While businesses still face challenges, growth in our lending approval figures indicate rising demand for credit and we're pleased to be approving 95% of all applications," he added.
"This week-long initiative uses the theme of 'Let's Connect for Growth' and is all about giving businesses practical support and great networking opportunities.
"By opening our branches and running a series of clinics and inspirational speaker events, we have a packed programme to suit ambitious businesses from small start-ups to larger corporates right across Northern Ireland."
Michael Beare - who set up holiday village Finn Lough with his sister Gillian and have been helped by Bank of Ireland - is one of those taking part as a speaker at this year's Enterprise Week.
After completing a renovation of their Co Fermanagh holiday cottages in July 2014, and creating a new 40-seat restaurant, the pair are turning their attentions to the development of a 'forest spa' and glass-domed accommodation.
"I'm delighted to be taking part in Enterprise Week as a speaker at the Enniskillen event in May and to be using my own experience with Bank of Ireland UK to encourage others to benefit from their enterprising approach to business," he said.
"Bank of Ireland UK's Enterprise Week is a fantastic platform for businesses like ourselves wanting to reach out, network and engage with the wider business community and I'm very much looking forward to the event."
The Enterprise Week programme runs from May 15 to 22.