The COSME agreement will provide Credem with a guarantee allowing the organisation to increase its lending volumes over the next 2 years, by providing loans to SMEs that would otherwise receive less amount of lendings.
The EU support is expected to leverage a portfolio of EUR 550m to the benefit of over 14,000 companies.
Commenting on the transaction, EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Marjut Santoni said: “I am pleased to be announcing the first COSME guarantee agreement in Italy with the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments guarantee. I am confident that this new agreement will build on our successful cooperation with Credem, to benefit many more viable Italian SMEs”.
European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: "Thanks to the COSME agreement more small business in Italy will be able to get a loan, invest and grow. Improving access to finance for SMEs and boosting growth are the Commission's priorities and the EU Investment Plan helps make them a reality."
Commenting on the operation, Angelo Campani, Deputy General Manager of Credem, said: “This new operation between Credem and EIF is the third agreement over the last 18 months to support Italian SMEs, bringing the total amount to EUR 850m. The agreement is representative of Credem’s commitment in supporting with simple and concrete initiatives the needs of businesses in a critical and complex period. We are delighted of being the first Italian bank in the position of using such instrument which will allow to facilitate the access to finance to small corporates. These clients are the most hit by the current economic situation, characterised by weak internal demand and consumption towards the SMEs are typically exposed.”
This is the first COSME transaction in Italy and the second COSME transaction in Europe thanks to EFSI support, reflecting the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.
About the EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8 bn at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6 bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
Credem Group is an Italian banking group listed on the Italian stock Exchange with a market capitalization of approximately € 2,5 billion. The Group is headquartered in Reggio Emilia and operates in 19 Italian regions, through 636 branches, corporate centers and financial stores. Employees are 5,792, while 799 independent financial advisers. Group headcount is completed by 275 Creacasa agents (a group company specialized in mortgages, loans to households and insurance products) and 119 agents specialized in personal loans benefitting by 1/5 salary assignment. Credem Group operates in all areas of commercial banking in Italy and operates, through its subsidiaries, in asset and wealth management, insurance products distribution, leasing and factoring.
SMEs wishing to apply for finance under the COSME programme can directly contact Credem at the following website: www.credem.it.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020. With a total budget of EUR 2.3bn, COSME mobilises loans and equity investments to SMEs in Europe. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 18 bn of loans and EUR 3 bn of venture capital to over 350,000 SMEs in Europe.
Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu
EIF: David Yormesor
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