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SME Initiative deal for Maltese businesses as EIF and Banif Bank sign new guarantee agreement

    Date: 23 September 2016

The European Investment Fund, part of the European Investment Bank Group and Banif Bank (Malta) have signed an SME Initiative guarantee transaction in Malta, in the presence of the Hon Deputy Prime Minister, Louis Grech and the Hon Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Ian Borg. The guarantee agreement signed today will allow the Banif Bank to provide around EUR 6 million of new loans to SMEs in Malta, until end 2019. This is one of the two SME Initiative transactions signed in Malta, which in total, will generate more than EUR 65 million of loans, supporting over 800 Maltese companies.

The agreement with Banif aims to facilitate access to finance for Maltese SMEs by enabling the Bank to lower the interest rates on loans and reduce collateral requirements. This transaction is expected to benefit more than 60 SMEs and start-ups in need of finance.

SME Initiative Malta is a joint financial instrument of the European Commission, the EIB Group and the Government of Malta and aims to stimulate SME financing by providing partial risk cover for SME loan portfolios originated by financial entities. Alongside EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) resources contributed by the Government of Malta, SME Initiative Malta is co-funded by the European Union through Horizon 2020 resources as well as EIB Group resources.

Commenting on the transaction, EIB Vice-President, Dario Scannapieco said “I am pleased to be supporting this signature in Malta under the SME Initiative. In collaboration with Banif Bank, I am convinced that together we will be able to reach out to many Maltese SMEs in need of finance. This new agreement is the result of an excellent collaboration between the EIB Group, Maltese authorities, EC and the banks.” 

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert added “I am delighted to be in Malta today to sign this guarantee agreement under the SME Initiative for Maltese businesses. Banif Bank is a new financial partner for EIF in Malta and we are pleased to be working with them to enhance access to finance for companies as a result of this agreement. The combination of European Structural and Investment Funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources enable EIF to support risk-sharing and provide capital relief to financial intermediaries for the benefit of SMEs.”

Joaquim F. Silva Pinto, Banif Bank Chief Executive Officer said “As an established core systemic bank Banif will continue to contribute significantly to the local economy, by offering credit facilities to business to support the different stages of their operations – from setting up to their development and growth. Our new agreement and collaboration with EIF means we are more than ever before in a strong position to offer entrepreneurs and businesses loans requiring minimal collateral and with advantageous rates. Our new product ‘Banif Business Accelerate’ will be doing just this. We would like to thank the Ministry for European Affairs and the Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto for this opportunity and for being an effective catalyst for nurturing the continual growth of Maltese businesses.”  

Elena Grech, Head of the EC Representation in Malta noted: “The signature of a second loan guarantee agreement under the EU funded SME Initiative is very good news for Maltese enterprises and investors. They will now have the choice between two financial institutions, and can apply for more investment loans with the benefit of partial risk coverage provided for by the EU."

Malta is contributing EUR 15 million from its European Structural and Investment Funds to this new EU initiative. The EUR 15 million contributed by the Government of Malta is leveraged with commercial lending through a risk-sharing mechanism. This results in more SMEs benefiting from European resources on advantageous terms, such as reduced interest rates and improved collateral requirements. It is expected that more than €60 million of new SME financing will be supported under this programme. This financial instrument acts as a catalyst for private investment and foster job creation.

About 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.

About the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

EIF: David Yormesor
Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

EIB: Marco Santarelli 

Tel.: +352 4379 83154, e-mail: m.santarelli@eib.org

Banif Bank: Vicky Spiteri 

Tel.: +356 2260 1186, e-mail: vicky.spiteri@banif.com.mt

MEAIM: Julian Tabone 

Tel.: +356 2295 7420, e-mail: julian.a.tabone@gov.mt 


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