The European Investment Fund and Libra Internet Bank have today signed the first guarantee agreement in Romania supported under the new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility from the EU's Creative Europe programme.
The European Union's support allows Libra Internet Bank to start targeting a new sector and to roll-out a new financing product to support a portfolio of RON 45 million (ca. EUR 10 million) of loans to companies over the next two years. More than 200 SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors (including editorial and computer game publishing, performing arts, artistic creation) are expected to access this new programme. This is the third agreement signed under the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility, following Spanish and French agreements announced in January.
EIF Head of EU Guarantee Facilities, Gunnar Mai, said: “I am delighted that we are signing the first Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility agreement in Romania, with our long-standing partner Libra Internet Bank. Access to finance is very often limited for companies in the cultural and creative sectors and this new agreement will allow Libra Internet Bank to start financing a new sector.”
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, and Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "Today's agreement is excellent news for Romanian SMEs active in all creative sectors, from festivals and design to literature and artistic crafts. More than 200 of them will benefit from the backing of our guarantee facility. This is a very good tool to bridge the financing gap for these sectors. It contributes to supporting Europe's diverse and rich culture. And it proves that the Commission's framework programme Creative Europe can effectively use innovative ways to support the culture and creative sectors and inspire partnerships across Europe."
Commenting on the operation, General Director at Libra Internet Bank, Emil Bituleanu said: “We are pleased to be the first bank in Romania that signed the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility. We are confident in the potential of this new sector we are targeting and we are glad to support SMEs to access finance through affordable products, guaranteed by the European Investment Fund”.
The creative and cultural sectors represent more than 7 million jobs in the EU and account for 4.2% of the EU's GDP (source). Access to finance can be difficult to obtain for companies active within these sectors, primarily due to the intangible nature of their assets and collateral, the limited size of the market, uncertainty about demand, and also lack of financial intermediary expertise in addressing sector specificities.
The new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility includes capacity building activities for financial intermediaries, giving them specific expertise on key characteristics of these sectors (e.g. specific business models and credit risk assessment in the sectors). This kind of expertise would be provided by capacity building provider(s) selected by the EIF (e.g. consultancies specialised in the way the cultural and creative sectors work) following an open call for tenders. Such support will be free of charge for financial intermediaries.
About Libra Internet Bank
Libra Internet Bank is a Romanian legal person, regulated by the Romanian law and the supervisory norms of the National Bank of Romania. Libra Internet Bank has a network of 49 national branches and is addressed mainly to customers in the SMEs segment, Corporate, Professionals and Agriculture.
Tel.: +352 24 85 81 346
Libra Internet Bank:
Tel: +40 742 174 607
Tel: +32 229-67083