There's going to be a new bank, with no charges*, for Irish SMEs

*Well, no quarterly or monthly charges anyway

A FINNISH BANK aimed at small and medium enterprise customers will open its doors in Ireland next month.

Holvi, which is already active in Finland and Austria, is an online bank which provides free current accounts, debit cards and business functions to SMEs.

Businesses can also take advantage of invoicing, ecommerce, accounting and an e-commerce portfolio.

The online shop is how Holvi makes most of its money, by charging a 3% commission on sales conducted on its platform.

While the bank won’t be making loans for SMEs yet, it says that it will be rolling this feature out in the coming months.

Holvi was previously voted as the hottest start-up in Finland by Wired Magazine, and the company also plans to make ten new hires to support its expansion in Ireland.

A lack of financing alternatives to traditional banking models has been identified as a major barrier to SME growth by cross-border small business body Intertrade Ireland in the past.

The company is backed by Nordea Bank, a major lender in Scandinavia, and is part-funded by venture capital outfit SpeedInvest.

Holvi Ireland spokesman Tom O’Reilly acknowledged that some Irish businesses may have concerns about a bank that is regulated elsewhere, especially following difficulties around the ‘passporting’ in of foreign financial services providers like Setanta Insurance.

“I think it’s natural for people to be sceptical, but if you look at the likes of RaboBank, they’ve been very successful in Ireland without being regulated here.”

Holvi will launch next month in Ireland.

Read: Government job targets rely on small business support, warns SFA>

Read: Call for more scrutiny on bank lending to SMEs>

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