Bibby Financial Services has launched a new fund, initially worth €30m, aimed at Irish SMEs affected by the exit of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland from the Irish market.

Bibby said the fund is targeted at firms who might require extra funding or cash-flow support when Ulster Bank and KBC close their doors here.

It said it will use the new fund to offer invoice finance solutions to both large and smaller businesses in the SME space to keep them running as smoothly as possible as they navigate the exit process from the two departing banks.

Bibby said that thousands of businesses will feel the impact, with many SMEs not matching the criteria of traditional banks.

Recent research from Bibby Financial Services Ireland shows that 38% SMEs say they will require additional funding in 2022, while nearly a quarter said they now need cashflow support more than ever before.

SMEs have told Bibby that this new funding will be used to ensure they can deal with inflation, overcome supply chain disruptions, ramp up recruitment to fulfil demand, and invest.

Mark O'Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, said the company prides itself on building strong personal relationships and today's campaign is centred around understanding the individual needs of those looking for a new funding home.

"It's not only our lending appetite that's different to the banks, our approach is too. We appreciate that every business is unique. So, we take the time to understand our customers' story, and we listen to the business need. Then we find the facility to match," Mr O'Rourke said.

Mr O'Rourke said that unlike a loan or overdraft, invoice finance does not involve ongoing monthly repayments.

"This revolving credit option means that once your invoices are paid, you can just continue the cycle - upload your invoices, draw down, use the funds and simply repeat," he explained.

In addition to assisting with cashflow, Invoice Finance can also be used to fund a range of other growth scenarios such as investing in infrastructure or equipment, funding Research and Development, financing an expansion, mergers and acquisition activity or simply stabilising a business during turnaround.