Customer Support

When you take out a loan with Microfinance Ireland we do our best to provide support and advice that experience has taught us can make all the difference to your success.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a vital extra support tool to help you establish, grow and develop your business. Once your loan is approved, we can provide you with invaluable support from an experienced business mentor on the LEO Mentor Panel.

The area of focus for mentoring will be identified during the loan application process, based on the life-stage of the business and the specific mentoring need identified.

The number of mentoring sessions provided are:

Start-Ups – Up to 5 sessions over the lifetime of the loan

Existing Businesses – Up to 3 sessions over the lifetime of the loan

 

Meeting your financial commitments

How well you manage your cashflow can determine how successful your business will be in the longer term.

Here are some tips which may help you to manage cash-flow in your business:

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1. Maintain and monitor your Cashflow Forecast

The Cashflow Forecast is not only a useful document when you are starting out in business or looking for a loan, but should be reviewed monthly to compare your actual cashflow position against your projections.

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2. Monitor Your Bank Account

Take advantage of online banking for small businesses to easily monitor receipts and payments to or from your business bank account.

Consider opening a separate Bank account for your fixed outgoings (e.g. Rent, Rates, Loan Repayments, etc.) so you know exactly how much you need to put aside each week to cover those payments.

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3. Keep Revenue payments up to date

It is really important to submit your returns for VAT, PAYE, PRSI, etc. to Revenue on time – usually bi-monthly or quarterly. If you fall behind with Revenue, you may have to accept their credit terms and that could put more pressure on cash flow than if you had kept your payments up to date.

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4. Managing your Debtors

Always agree clear payment terms in advance with anyone that owes you money and make sure to check that the payment has arrived on time. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you. Facilitating online payment straight to your business bank account or receiving payment by credit card are the ways most people prefer. Always ask for a deposit in situations where you must incur cost in order to fulfil a contract.

Managing financial difficulties

We understand that customers may find themselves in financial difficulty for a wide variety of reasons.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have sufficient funds in your bank account to meet your loan repayment. If for some reason you do find yourself in financial difficulties it is always best to let us know as early as possible. We will work with you and help you get back on track with your repayment schedule.

We can:

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arrange for one of our credit team to contact you to discuss your situation. They may propose revised loan arrangements or recommend a mentor to work with you to find the best solution for your business

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allow a period of reduced repayments to support your cash flow. The missed repayment can then be spread over a number of subsequent months or the remaining term, or in exceptional circumstances we will extend the loan term.

We are always happy to work with you to identify the best solution for your business and support you through your business challenges as they arise over the duration of the loan.

If repayments are not met, we will take all the formal and legal steps as necessary to recover the outstanding balance and the costs associated with this.

Business Resources

Here are a number of agencies and business supports that may be of help to you and your business:

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Citizen’s Information Board

Starting Up A Business Guide provides a good yet brief overview of all of the things you need to consider when starting a business.

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Companies Registration Office

If you’re a new business and you wish to trade under any other name than your own, you are required to register the business name with the Companies Registration Office. The website has very detailed step by step instructions that can guide you through the process.

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Supporting SMEs

Supporting SMEs is an online tool to help you navigate the range of more than 80 Government supports that are available for small businesses in Ireland.

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Business websites

Business websites such as www.smallbusinesscan.com or www.thinkbusiness.ie have a variety of business tools, support guides and templates for businesses in any sector or at any stage of business.

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The Local Enterprise Office

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is the first stop shop for small businesses locally. There are 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country that provide advice, information and support for people interested in starting up a new business or already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, start-ups and small business looking to expand. See their full list of services and supports.

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Irish Local Development Network

The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) www.ildn.ie is the representative body of 48 Local Development Companies (LDCs) in Ireland. Their mission is to promote and support social inclusion and local/rural development through the delivery of a number of funding programmes and initiatives. These include the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and the LEADER Rural Development Programme.

Customer Complaints

Microfinance Ireland prides itself on offering an efficient and highly personalised customer service, in all aspects of our dealings with micro-enterprises. However, we understand that sometimes we may fall short of the standard you expect, or you may be unhappy with a decision we have made.

If you have a complaint, our commitment to you is to ensure that:

  • We will deal with all complaints fairly and promptly and issues are resolved as quickly as possible.
  • In dealing with complaints, applicants and /or customers feel that we have handled their issue(s) in a prompt, courteous and professional manner.

 


 

What We Mean by a Customer Complaint

A customer “complaint” refers to an expression of grievance or dissatisfaction either orally or in writing, in connection with:

  • the provision or/offer of the provision of a loan product by Microfinance Ireland;
  • or the failure or refusal of Microfinance Ireland to provide a loan product

Complaints may be raised by a customer, in writing, by phone, in a face to face meeting or by third party acting for the customer (intermediary, legal representative).

IMPORTANT: A customer’s decision to appeal a credit decision does not automatically constitute a customer complaint – any complaint in relation to a credit application must be made separately and will be managed in line with Microfinance Ireland’s Customer Complaints Procedures.

Credit Appeals are managed through Microfinance Ireland’s Appeals process – for more information see question 5 of our FAQ section here.


Making a Complaint

To make a complaint, you may contact any member of staff at:

Microfinance Ireland, 13 Richview Office Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14, Eircode: D14 Y867,
on 01 2601007 or by email at info@microfinanceireland.ie.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within five business days of being received, should it not be otherwise resolved.

If your complaint has not been resolved following contact with you, your complaint is actively investigated and a comprehensive response or update is sent to you within twenty business days of receipt of the complaint. If we are unable to resolve your complaint within twenty business days, we will continue to provide updates on the investigation until it has been completed.

We will inform you within five business days of the completion of the investigation of your complaint and the outcome of the investigation.

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