Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has launched a five-year unsecured business loan for Irish SMEs, with rates starting at 7.95%.

Linked Finance said the new loan of up to €300,000 will meet the needs of companies with more complex funding requirements.

Noting the very strong market demand for a longer-term loan product, Linked Finance added that lenders on the platform will benefit from a larger volume of companies to lend to. 

Linked Finance said it applies a rigourous credit checking process to vet loan applications which allows lenders with a well-diversified loan portfolio to earn net returns of 7-8%.

"This is particularly attractive in the current low interest rate environment, where cash savings on deposit are able to earn little or no interest," it added.

Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance, said that the company's new loan product is unique in the Irish market as the only unsecured lending to companies over a five-year term for amounts of up to €300,000. 

"It allows Linked Finance to serve companies with big ambitions and more complex funding requirements without the need for them to deal with complex collateral or security pledges and expensive legal fees.

"This marks a new milestone for peer-to-peer lending in Ireland as an alternative to traditional lenders," Mr Dorrian added.

The new loan offering is part of Linked Finance's wider growth strategy and last year it  announced plans to double headcount at its Dublin headquarters in 2020.