Inflation is likely to be the key issue facing companies this year on the financing front as well as in other areas.

The Bank of England has already started raising interest rates and the US Federal Reserve is signalling three rate hikes this year in order to tame soaring inflation.

Although the European Central Bank has said it does not intend raising interest rates this year, longer term rates are starting to indicate that hikes are on the way in the medium term.

"The key thing is what will happen with longer term rates - three and five year rates - because they will rise before the base rates," John Finn, Managing Director of Treasury Solutions, explained.

He referenced the UK where the three year cost of funds rose from 0.15% to over 1% over the last 12 months.

The Bank of England hiked its base rate at its December meeting from 0.1% to 0.25%.

"We're beginning to see in the euro zone those three year rates creeping up a little bit compared to where they were. Generally, they creep up nine to 12 months before anything happens," he added.

Anyone on a variable rate mortgage, for example, look like they won't be experiencing any rate increase this year, John Finn estimated, but he said fixed rates would likely start creeping up soon with the price of fixing corporate loans already starting to rise.

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On the banking front, Mr Finn said his biggest concern was the redundancy programmes that the banks are undertaking at the moment and the implications it might have for business banking.

"They are downsizing based on where they think their volumes are going to be in the next five years. The problem is, you downsize straight away but loan books only drop over time - if that's going to happen - so my concern is that that they will downsize too quickly which means decision making could be too slow.

"My advice to business on the lending side is to start early, identify the right person in the bank and approach it as if things in the economy are going to go wrong," he concluded.

The banking market has been undergoing rapid change here.

All well as redundancy programmes and the threat posed by financial technology (fintech) companies, Ulster Bank and KBC are preparing to exit the market here in the coming years.