Ljubljana, 23 July 2012
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Volksbank Slovenia have signed a EUR 8.75 million subordinated loan agreement aimed at supporting micro-businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs in Slovenia.
This transaction was signed under the European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance), funded by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank and managed by the European Investment Fund.
Thanks to the signature, Volksbank Slovenia will be able to provide additional support to micro-businesses in Slovenia. This agreement will allow Volksbank to significantly increase its current micro-lending activity and to provide an additional EUR 17.5 million of loan finance over the next year and a half.
Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under Progress Microfinance can directly contact Volksbank in Slovenia.
About the European Progress Microfinance Facility
The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) provides guarantees and funded instruments to microfinance intermediaries. The initiative is established with EUR 203 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. The European Investment Fund (EIF) acts as Management Company on behalf of the EU Microfinance Platform FCP-FIS - European Progress Microfinance Fund, the main vehicle through which Progress Microfinance is implemented. Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders etc. Loans less than EUR 25,000 are made available through selected intermediaries participating in the facility. Progress Microfinance does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals.
For further information about this initiative please visit: www.ec.europa.eu/epmf
About the EIF
EIF's central mission is to support Europe's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture capital and guarantees 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. The EIF total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6bn at end 2011. With investments in over 370 funds, the 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. The EIF guaranteed loan portfolio totalled over EUR 4.4bn in close to 220 operations at end 2011, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
Banka Volksbank, d. d. has been operating successfully in Slovenia since 1993 as part of the network of the Vienna-based Volksbank International AG (VBI). VBI holds a majority interest in Banka Volksbank, d. d. and has subsidiary banks in seven other CEE states consisting of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and the Ukraine. At the end of 2011, VBI and its subsidiary banks had a workforce of 4,156, serving some 600,000 retail and business clients at 295 branches. The total assets of the VBI banks at year-end 2011 amounted to EUR 9.1 billion. In February 2012, Volksbank International AG was taken over entirely by Sberbank, which with 240,000 employees is Russia’s largest bank. As the new and strong owner of VBI AG, Sberbank stands for positive and sustained development of the entire network. Sberbank owns 27 per cent of the aggregate Russian banking assets. It was founded by the Bank of Russia, which remains its main shareholder with over 60 per cent of vote-carrying shares. The other shareholders comprise more than 245,000 legal entities and individuals. Sberbank has 17 regional head offices and Russia’s most extensive branch network, as well as subsidiaries in Kazakhstan, the Ukraine and Belarus, a branch in India and representative offices in Germany and China.