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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Equa bank sign an agreement to benefit Czech SMEs

    Date: 27 May 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Equa bank have signed a COSME agreement in the Czech Republic, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe which aims to revive investment in strategic projects around Europe.

The COSME agreement will allow Equa bank to provide CZK 1.8bn (ca. EUR 66.5m) of loans to SMEs over the next two years. The loans will be provided with substantially reduced collateral requirements as a result of a guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission.  It is expected that the agreement will make it possible for Equa bank to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 250 SMEs.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "This EFSI-backed COSME deal demonstrates once again that the EU actively supports small businesses, the biggest job creators in the Czech Republic and across the EU. Thanks to this agreement, more than 250 small companies in the Czech Republic will gain access to the finance they need to grow their businesses, which is great news."

Commenting on the signature, EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith, said: “This new EFSI guarantee agreement with Equa bank will help Czech companies to benefit from loans with substantially reduced collateral requirements. Enhancing access to finance lies at the heart of both EIF and EFSI’s strategy and this guarantee is an example of how we are able to achieve this aim.”

Petr Řehák, Chief Executive at Equa bank, said: “Part of Equa bank’s core mission is to support the development of entrepreneurs and small businesses, which are one of the key drivers of economic growth.  We are therefore delighted that Equa bank is one of only three banks on the Czech market, which signed the agreement with EIF.  Thanks to the COSME programme we will expand financing possibilities to a larger community of SME clients.”

This transaction reflects 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 guarantee transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.


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 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. 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 almost EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 381,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by May 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) was expected to have triggered more than €100 billion of investment in Europe.

Find out the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country here. For more information see the FAQs.

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 by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment.

About Equa bank

Equa bank a. s. entered the Czech market in 2011 and currently has more than 200,000 customers and operates 59 branches all over the Czech Republic. Equa bank offers simple, understandable and transparent retail and corporate banking services,  including free of charge current and savings accounts, multi-monetary contactless payment cards, golden payment cards, mortgages, consumer loans, insurance, time deposits and business loans. Equa banks’ sole shareholder is AnaCap Financial Partner funds owned company Equa Group Ltd. AnaCap is one of the leading European private equity firms focusing solely on the European financial services sector.

Equa bank won many prestigious awards since its market entry. For example Equa bank won only in 2015 six awards in the Golden Crown competition and its current account defended the first place in the Prize of the public for the second time. Golden crown won in the loans and mortgages category as well. In the competition Hospodářské noviny's Best Bank in 2015 was Equa bank ranked second in the category of Most Client-Friendly Bank. Equa bank received also foreign awards. Equa bank was recognized two times in a row the best Retail Bank in the Czech Republic According to the prestigious Global Banking & Finance Review magazine.

Press contacts:

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

Equa bank: 
Markéta Dvořáčková, Tel: + +420 222 010 281, e-mail: Marketa.Dvorackova@equabank.cz

European Commission:
Siobhán Millbright, Tel.:+ 32 229 57361, e-mail: Siobhan.millbright@ec.europa.eu


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