The Evolution of Financial Services in Ireland

The evolution of financial services might sound like a dull topic, but it really isn’t, believe me. To fully understand where we are now in financial services, it is important to know where we came from.

Big Players

There are three main banking institutions in Ireland at the moment; Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks and Ulster Bank. They are the three big players who control 95% of the lending to small businesses in the Irish market.

How Did We Get Here?


Each of these traditional institutions was established between 1836 and 1966, so longevity may have a hand in how dominant they are in the lending sphere. Until recently there has been very little competition for these institutions.


There is a general lack of knowledge on alternative financing options in Ireland. Many alternatives exist, such as GRID Finance, which matches SMEs with investors looking to back community projects.

Too Reliant

Irish Businesses are over-reliant on short-term bank finance, such as overdrafts and trade credit.

What Does the Future Hold?

Traditional banking institutions may be in the majority for now, but alternative financing options are becoming available. Take GRID Finance where they believe that “small businesses are the engine of change in society”. Not only does GRID match up SMEs with investors, but they award companies with their very own credit score, known as a GRID Score.

GRID Finance has only been established three years, but have already provided finance to over 2,000 businesses. While three main traditional banks may hold the larger share in the lending market, they are being given a run for their money thanks to up and coming players, like GRID Finance.

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