Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Wilson proposes equity finance plan

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson wants to discuss the future of local banks with Bank of England Governor Mervyn King

The Executive could establish a "lender of last resort" to help Northern Ireland firms which struggle to obtain credit, the Finance Minister has said.

Sammy Wilson wants to meet Bank of England Governor Mervyn King to discuss the future of local banks amid turmoil in the world's financial markets.

He has held talks with business and trade union leaders at Stormont and a new way of providing loans was one idea considered.

"I thought there was good rationale behind it and it is something we want to follow up on," the DUP East Antrim MLA said.

Mr Wilson said the government would not be underwriting businesses.

He added: "There are people prepared for equity finance, as I understand it the lender of last resort role would give you equity finances."

Equity finance is a way of raising share capital from external investors in return for handing over a share of the business.

Mr Wilson said Canada is among countries using the system to help companies.

"We need to educate businesses that banks are not the only source of finance and there may be a greater need for equity funding," he added.

"I have had some interesting discussions with people who are prepared to provide equity funding for Northern Ireland."

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