| 7.2°C Belfast

Brexit: Bank's £1.75bn fund to help businesses prepare for impact of exit


Ian Sheppard from the Bank of Ireland

Ian Sheppard from the Bank of Ireland

Ian Sheppard from the Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland has launched a £1.75bn Brexit fund to help businesses on both sides of the border absorb the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU.

The bank's Northern Ireland managing director, Ian Sheppard, said while larger businesses appear better prepared, many SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) still need support.

"In the recently published NI Chamber Quarterly Economic survey 50% of their members report that Brexit is having a negative impact on costs which in turn impacts cash flow," he said.

"Bank of Ireland is ready to support our customers whatever the outcome for Brexit."

Earlier this month the board of Invest NI expressed "deep concern" over the readiness of small businesses for a no-deal Brexit.

New research from InterTradeIreland has also found that SMEs on both sides of the border are feeling pressure on a range of fronts.

Bank of Ireland said it has already held 250 events around the island for smaller companies in the past 18 months.

Mr Sheppard said the feedback from his staff's daily engagements with business customers is that many need more help to mitigate the impact Brexit may bring.

"Our business advisors are talking to customers on a daily basis and we know that some customers need further support with stocking facilities, foreign currency management and working capital in the lead up to Brexit," he said. "In our experience we are seeing that larger businesses are better prepared, which is understandable given their scale and resources.

"Businesses of all sizes and in key sectors, such as agri, manufacturing and hospitality, are looking to mitigate risks associated with Brexit, for example access to labour and labour costs. Brexit isn't business as usual, but we are here to support our customers flex, adapt and thrive."

Belfast Telegraph