Bank of Ireland made €2.1bn of new loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the first six months of the year, the bank said.

That is 7pc more than was loaned out in the same period last year, the bank said in a statement.

The total is made of up new loans and increased facilities, and does not include restructurings of existing loan facilities, the bank said.

There was increased activity in the agri-business sectors, as well as the motor and property areas, the bank said.

Over 85pc of credit applications received from SMEs in the year to end June were approved, the bank said.

The bank said there has been a strong uplift in the overall motor market, with growth of 28pc in the first half of the year.

Bank of Ireland is the largest provider of forecourt finance in the Irish market with 14 franchise partnerships.

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