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EUR 400 million for Finnish SMEs under the SME Initiative following new agreements with EIF, Aktia Bank and Savings Banks Group

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    Date: 08 December 2017

The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed SME Initiative guarantee transactions in Finland with Aktia Bank and Savings Banks Group (Säästöpankki).

These agreements will improve access to finance for Finnish SMEs, including micro companies and start-ups, by ensuring that the banks committed to the SME Initiative offer financing at improved conditions, for example lower interest rates, longer maturities or lower collateral requirements.

The two guarantee transactions will generate a total of EUR 50 million of finance to SMEs in Finland, covering the remaining part of the EUR 400 million portfolio available under the initiative.

With these two transactions the SME Initiative in Finland is now fully utilised and Finnish SMEs will have access to a total of EUR 400 million of loans and leases from five Finnish banks under the SME initiative. EUR 150 million has already reached SMEs since the launch of the SME Initiative last year.

EIB Vice President, Alexander Stubb, said: “The rapid take-up of the SME initiative in Finland shows that there is a strong demand for jointly managed finance products in the country. I am delighted that the signatures today with Aktia Bank and Savings Banks Group will generate additional EUR 50 million of loans for Finnish businesses. A total of EUR 400 million of finance is now available for Finnish companies under the SME initiative demonstrating the EIB Group’s commitment to supporting business in Finland.”

Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä said: “SME Initiative is a great example how European Commission, EIB Group and Republic of Finland can improve Finnish SMEs access to finance which is crucial for growth and job creation in Finland.  There are now five banks after Aktia Bank and Saving Banks Group signed the agreements with EIF which is great news for SMEs. The combination of European Structural and Investment funds national budget, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources allows EIF to provide risk-sharing and capital relief to financial intermediaries, which would improve lending conditions for the Finnish SMEs. SME Initiative is a significant financial instrument which supports entrepreneurs wishing to grow and develop their business.”

Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "To turn good ideas into good products, small businesses sometimes just need a little boost – and this is what the SME initiative is here for. This Cohesion Policy programme has been a complete success in Finland, delivering on the Investment Plan's objective of making a smarter use of financial resources."

Aktia Bank plc’s Vice President, corporate customers, Irma Gillberg-Hjelt said: “At Aktia, we are very satisfied to be able to offer our customers financing opportunities with guarantee provided by EIF. This will, for example, result in lower financing costs for our customer. We are delighted with the new agreement.”

Savings Banks Group CEO, Tomi Närhinen said: “This financing model is a sought-after product from the customer side and we are delighted to be able to offer it to our customers. SMEs and startups are strategically important target group for Savings banks and we want to help SMEs grow”

The SME Initiative is a joint programme blending support from the European Commission, EIB Group and Republic of Finland with a view to stimulating SME financing by providing partial risk cover for SME loan portfolios originated by financial entities. Alongside EUR 20 million of Cohesion Policy funds (European Regional Development Fund) and EUR 20 million of national budget contributed by the Republic of Finland, the SME Initiative is also co-funded through Horizon 2020 resources as well as benefitting from EIB Group resources.

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 EIB

The EIB is the EU’s long-term lending institution and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment, contributing to growth, jobs, regional convergence and climate action in Europe and beyond.

To maximise growth and job creation, the EIB targets four priority areas: innovation and skills, SMEs, climate action and strategic infrastructure across the EU.

About Aktia Bank

Aktia provides a broad range of solutions within banking, asset management, insurance and real estate agency. Aktia operates mainly in coastal areas and inland growth areas. Aktia has about 380,000 customers who are served at branch offices and via web, mobile interfaces as well as telephone services. Aktia's shares (AKTAV, AKTRV) are listed on the list of Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. For more information about Aktia see www.aktia.com.

About Savings Banks Group

The Savings Banks Group is the oldest banking group in Finland consisting of 23 Savings Banks as well as entities providing products and services to the Savings Banks. The Group has close to 0.5 million customers and about 150 branch offices across Finland.  More information www.saastopankki.fi

Press contacts

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

EIB:
Alicja Chylta
Tel.: +352 4379 88233
e-mail: a.chytla@eib.org.

Press Office:
Tel.: +352 4379 21000
Follow us on Twitter @EIBtheEUBank

Aktia Bank:
Malin Pettersson
Tel. +358 10 247 6369
e-mail: malin.pettersson@aktia.fi

Savings Banks Group:
Tapani Lehti
Tel. +358 50 420 1070
e-mail: tapani.lehti@saastopankki.fi


 
 

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