Lender Pepper said it is to restart lending to commercial firms in Ireland, which it had ended only last September, citing “more favourable conditions” in the Irish banking market.
Pepper was among a raft of new lenders that had carved out markets servicing small firms and large Irish companies in recent years.
Despite the Covid crisis, its decision to stop lending came as something of a surprise.
The Irish banking market subsequently endured successive blows after Ulster Bank, the third largest general lender in Ireland, said it was pulling out of the market altogether, and mortgage lender KBC Bank Ireland said it too was pulling out.
Pepper said it had advanced loans of more than €200m and built up its commercial lending since 2017.
“Over the last 12 months, Pepper focussed on successfully working with its existing customers in navigating the challenges of Covid-19,” said the lender.
It is targeting SMEs, family businesses, and other investors, saying it will advance loans ranging from €250,000 to just below €10m “and cater to a range of commercial property and professional buy-to-let borrowers wishing to refinance loans or acquire new commercial properties”.
“We are delighted to be in a position to recommence our commercial lending in Ireland. The decision not only reflects improved conditions in financial markets but also growing customer demand and the opportunity to yet again bring more choice and competition into the Irish market,” said Cormac Ryan, chief executive at Pepper Ireland.
“While commercial lending will continue to be a niche part of our overall Irish business, which has over €18bn under management, our products have been very well received by customers in the past and we have enjoyed significant success in building our commercial loan book to date,” he said.