Bank of Ireland is the first lender to confirm that it will offer low-interest loans under the Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme, Government ministers have announced.

Farmers are eligible to draw down loans under the credit scheme, but must show that their costs increased by at least 10% since 2020.

Further banks are expected to come forward and offer loans under the scheme, which will remain open for applications until 31 December 2024.

Sums of up to €1m can be borrowed for a period of up to six years.

Between €10,000 and €250,000 can be borrowed unsecured under the State-backed lending scheme.

Interest rates

Interest rates below standard market rates will apply to borrowings taken out through the scheme, but a guarantee premium is to be paid in addition to interest on loans.

These will range from 0.29% to 0.68%, depending on the period repayments are to be made.

The scheme is intended to fund cashflow and medium-term investments for farmers and businesses which have 499 or fewer employees.

Overdrafts, working capital and term loan facilities are eligible to be covered under the scheme, but refinancing options are not.

Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Finance Michael McGrath announced on Monday that Bank of Ireland had come on board with the initiative.


Minister Coveney said that the Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme will give businesses the cashflow they need to survive the input cost rise seen since the invasion of Ukraine early last year.

“The illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia and its consequences has led to increased costs for business across numerous areas of their operations,” Minister Coveney commented.

“Low-cost loans, favourable terms and pre-eligibility availability makes this scheme attractive and accessible to businesses including SMEs, farmers and fishers.

“In the coming time, I look forward to a number of other lenders and financial institutions participating in the scheme.”

Backing farmers

The credit scheme will allow farmers access to short-term financing to withstand input cost challenges, according to Minister McConalogue.

“The Government continues to back farmers and agri-businesses in this time of challenge. While our world-class industry is well positioned to weather various situations, it is especially important to support businesses to meet their liquidity and working capital needs,” the Minister said.

“This initiative will play a key role in ensuring ongoing access to short-term finance and the ongoing viability of the agri-food sector and of businesses generally.”

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) maintains that the scheme will pose a viable option to borrowers, as it provides for lower interest rates and unsecured lending.