By Marcus Leach

UK Export Finance today (Friday) announced that Northern Bank will be the first local bank in Northern Ireland to deliver its bond support scheme, which helps exporters with trade finance facilities.

UK Export Finance is the UK’s official export credit agency, providing a range of services which complement the private sector through the provision of assistance to exporters and investors. These services come principally in the form of insurance and guarantees to banks.

“We are increasingly seeing customers - particularly in construction and related sectors - seeking out new export markets in efforts to maintain and grow their business amid ongoing challenging economic times," Northern Bank’s head of trade and export finance Ruth Graham said.

"With this comes increasing customer demand for trade finance-related bond and guarantee products to support their export activity, often required by buyers in foreign jurisdictions before signing a contract.

“By partnering with UK Export Finance on the bond support scheme, credit risk is effectively shared between the bank and UK Export Finance. As a consequence we expect to be able to provide greater levels of export support to both new and existing customers.”

Northern Bank’s senior corporate banking manager Niall Harkin said:

“Export has been identified as one of the essential components of sustainable economic recovery and long-term growth in the draft Northern Ireland Economic Strategy and, as a leading local bank, Northern Bank is strongly committed to supporting this strategy by making it more straightforward for aspiring and experienced exporters achieve their full potential in the coming months and years.

“Our partnership with UK Export Finance is just one example of this commitment and we look forward to welcoming more exporting customers in the near future as we continue to open doors to new markets for businesses in Northern Ireland.”

UK Export Finance chief executive Patrick Crawford said:

“This is good news for exporters in Northern Ireland. Our bond support scheme has already covered exports worth more than £70 million so far to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China, and Northern Bank’s support for the scheme is a clear demonstration of its appetite for export business and its strong commitment to supporting exporters in Northern Ireland.”

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