Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance lent €5.5 million to businesses in July - a record month for the non-bank lender.

It reported strong demand for loans from businesses looking to restock and reopen as the economy begins its recovery from the Covid shock.

The company said the July figure was over treble the level of lending in the same month last year, signalling a rebound from the negative business sentiment at the peak of the pandemic.

In July Linked Finance lent money to over 40 SMEs, with an average loan size of €136,000.

Year to date, Linked Finance has issued over €21.6m in loans, compared to €19m for the full year in 2019.

The company has seen strong growth in lending across all sectors, particularly the wholesale and retail trade, construction and manufacturing.

In January, Linked Finance was amongst the first approved non-bank lenders to offer loans under the Government’s Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS).

Since then the company has been awarded two furthers allocations of additional CCGS funding.

The platform also offers a new Recharge SMEs loan which provides pubs, restaurants, accommodation providers, and cafes with a loan of up to €50,000 to help them reopen, restock and rehire as pandemic restrictions are eased.

"The SME market is now clearly starting the process of recovery, although different categories are at very different stages in their recovery," said Niall O'Grady, CEO of Linked Finance.

Since its establishment Linked Finance has delivered over €162m to over 2,800 local businesses in every county in the country.