When the owner of a hugely popular wedding and conference venue saw that his operations were being overwhelmingly restricted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he realised that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) could be the key to saving his business.
Fortunately Drenagh, a Georgian mansion in County Londonderry, proved to be the perfect match with the market leading lender, Fiduciam who quickly and efficiently approved an institutionally funded CBILS loan. Thankfully, those who dream of celebrating their nuptials at this stunning venue can still look forward to their big day, albeit perhaps not quite as soon as they’d hoped!
What undoubtedly helped the situation was Fiduciam’s recent expansion throughout Northern Ireland, growth that is mirrored both north and south of the border and is being driven by strong demand for loans from both businesses and property developers.
Drenagh ordinarily has a very full schedule of weddings and conferences but this year was forced to cancel all events during lockdown. Consequently, whilst overheads continued to mount there was no real income to speak of. It actually took until August to host the first socially distanced, post-lockdown wedding.
The Fiduciam CBILS loan allowed Conolly McCausland, owner of Drenagh, to significantly lower his financing costs, not only because of the lower interest rate, but also because the UK Government covers all interest during the first 12 months.
McCausland spoke of his delight that Fiduciam granted the loan after looking at the solid history of his business, as well as its longer-term prospects. He added:
“None of us could foresee Covid-19 and envisage how it would disrupt our business, so the CBILS loan from Fiduciam is a perfect solution for businesses like ours that have a solid business but have been hit hard by Covid-19. Fiduciam is developing a good reputation in Northern Ireland and its Irish team is very efficient and a pleasure to work with.”
Fiduciam’s expansion in the Northern Irish market means it now has a loan pipeline approaching £20 million for CBILS loans from Northern Irish businesses. It is dedicated to Northern Ireland and plans to open a Belfast office just as soon as government health guidance permits.
Kenneth Duffy, Fiduciam country manager for Ireland, said that throughout all the economic uncertainty, the firm has remained fully committed to the Northern Irish market and that the loan to the Drenagh wedding and conference centre is “additional proof of that”.
“Our investment in Northern Ireland continued throughout the Covid-19 crisis; we have expanded our team and we are opening a Belfast office as soon as the second Covid-19 wave is behind us. Our commitment has paid off thus far, our market share has grown this year as we helped more Irish businesses to achieve their dreams and objectives.”
CBILS is designed to support the continued provision of finance to UK SME’s during the Covid-19 outbreak. It is delivered through British Business Bank accredited lenders such as Fiduciam. The scheme enables lenders to provide facilities of up to £5million to smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.