Bank of Ireland has extended its commitment to fast-track payments to its SME suppliers until the end of 2021 to help ease cash flow pressures during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In the first wave of the pandemic, Bank of Ireland reduced standard payment terms from 30 days to within five days for its SME suppliers. 

The bank said today that smaller suppliers across a range of sectors including technology, advertising and recruitment will continue to benefit from its accelerated payment approach until the end of this year.

The bank said it has paid over €350m to about 1,100 suppliers between April and December 2020.

Jackie Noakes, Group Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Ireland, said its suppliers are essential to the services the bank provides while they also play a critically important role in supporting employment and local economies across the country. 

"However, with the return to Level 5 restrictions this month, many businesses have faced a very challenging start to 2021 from a cash flow perspective," Jackie Noakes said. 

"At a time when cash is tight, getting paid three weeks faster could make a big difference to a small business. SMEs are key to our economic recovery, which is why we have extended our accelerated payment approach to the end of 2021. This timeframe should see us moving through the pandemic and into the recovery phase," the bank said.