Bank of Ireland lending to business across the province grew by 26% in the past year with a rise in loans to the agri sector playing a significant role, the bank said.
A total of £795m in new business was approved in 2015.
“We welcome the increased activity and are delighted with the growth in lending approvals,” said Ian Sheppard, regional director of business and corporate banking in Northern Ireland and Bank of Ireland UK.
“We are particularly pleased to see the increase in demand for term loans as it shows the growing confidence of local businesses as they invest and plan for their long term future.
“Export focused businesses were foremost in this space.
“We can cite numerous examples of local businesses we are supporting with their global trade ambitions including IFS Global Logistics who already export to more than 50 countries and have plans to do more and, the award-winning AJ Power, who continue to increase their international reach.”
With 4% growth in Northern Ireland export sales in 2015, he said the growth potential of the export market remained vibrant.
“The agri sector is an important growth sector for Bank of Ireland and lending approvals were up 25% on 2014 figures.
“Despite challenges in the dairy sector, increased demand was driven by opportunities in both farming and agri food businesses.”