Minister McGrath launches Social Finance Foundation’s 2022 Lending Results

  • Funding from the Irish banks has enabled the Foundation to lend over €190m to 1,870 organisations since 2007, through partners Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland. 
  • Post Covid Demand Sees 29% Loan Growth to €27m 
  • 265 community organisations from 26 counties averaged loans of €117,000 each. 

22nd March 2023 – The Social Finance Foundation, the non-profit body that provides loan finance for community organisations around Ireland, has reported a 29% increase in loans to the sector in 2022. Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has been funded by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank, firstly by way of a €25m non-repayable grant, followed by €116m in two tranches of loan funding at low interest rates for the combined period 2009 to 2025.  

The bank funding has enabled the foundation to lend over €190m to 1,870 organisations since 2007. This loan funding has enabled such social organisations to achieve their goals, delivering strong social benefits to their local communities. In recent months the foundation has also received the first tranche of its €20m loan funding from the Council of Europe Development Bank and has the support of the European Investment Fund through a €25m loan guarantee facility. 

Commenting on the announcement, Brian Hayes, Chief Executive, BPFI said: Today’s report from Social Finance Foundation is a testament to the work that takes place across the community and voluntary sector in Ireland and highlights the difference that investment, new lending and credit can make to the lives of thousands of people and communities right across Ireland. Through the provision of low-cost finance to SFF, our retail member banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland, permanent tsb and Ulster Bank, are very pleased to indirectly finance a myriad of social and community projects that would otherwise find it difficult to qualify for mainstream funding. In the wake of the Covid pandemic, which has been quickly followed by the current cost of living challenges, the relevance and value of SFF has never been more significant, and this is matched by a determination by the Irish banking sector to continue with our support having seen the success of the hundreds of projects that have been backed to date. We look forward to continuing our support of SFF along with their social lending partners Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland.” 

The loan funding is attributed to eight different sectors, with community and sports clubs making up a majority of the funding: 

  • Community & Voluntary: €11.5m (43% of 2022 loans and 31% of overall loan book) 
  • Sports: €10.1m (38% of 2022 loans and 41% of overall loan book) 
  • Arts, Heritage & Tourism: €1,763m (7% of 2022 loans and 3% of overall loan book) 
  • Social Enterprises: €1.3m (5% of 2022 loans and 7% of overall loan book) 
  • Healthcare: €0.65m (2% of 2022 loans and 4% of overall loan book) 
  • Religious: €0.56m (2% of 2022 loans and 6% of overall loan book) 
  • Social Care Housing: €0.42m (2% of 2022 loans and 5% of overall loan book) 
  • Education: €0.25m (1% of 2022 loans and 3% of overall loan book) 

The Social Finance Foundation is advising community groups they can now apply for funding of up to €500,000 per group through the Foundation’s partners – Clann Credo and Community F-inance Ireland. Applications are processed within a few weeks with personal interaction a key feature of the lending process. This results in a very high approval rate for loan applications.