Banking &Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today held its annual national conference, Financing Growth and Entrepreneurship, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dublin. Opened by EU Commissioner for Internal Markets, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the conference hosted a gathering of senior banking executives and policy makers from Ireland, the UK and further afield in Europe to discuss the development of new financing instruments and the role of finance from banks and other relevant providers in the transition from economic recovery to economic growth.
Speaking at today’s conference, Bernard Byrne, President, BPFI and Chief Executive, AIB said: “As lenders we recognise the centrality of businesses – and SMEs in particular – to our economic recovery and growth; as well as the mutuality of interests in providing suitable support to them. We have ample liquidity to fund viable business propositions; and we have enhanced our capacity to better understand and assess the requirements of our business customers. That’s not to say we’re getting everything right by our customers. We know we’re not; and we know that we have further to go.”
Pointing to the increased levels of banks’ support for businesses as confirmed in the most recent reports from the Central Bank and the Credit Review Office, he continued: “as the economy generally continues to move in the right direction, banks are making significant progress also. To one extent or another many banks have gone through a significant period of restructuring over recent years. They are now focused on working with existing businesses that have sustainable business models, while supporting development opportunities in both the traditional and new areas of business activity.”
Among those contributing to the conference were Alain Nadeau, Head of Division, European Investment Bank who addressed the conference on the EIB’s lending priorities, the Investment Plan for Europe and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); Jillian Mahon, Head of Funding and Strategic Projects, Strategic Bank Corporation of Ireland, who spoke on the developing role of SBCI as a national promotional institution and Stephen Pegge, Director of Competitive Markets & Business Policy, Lloyds Banking Group who focused on a number of topics chief amongst them the importance of equity finance from non-bank sources in addition to debt finance as a viable source of funding for early stage and true small businesses.
Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.
Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, BPFI, ph: 01 474 8835 / 087 9016880