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EUR 246 million for Romanian SMEs as EIF signs first SME Initiative agreements with three commercial banks

    Date: 17 May 2017

The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed the first SME Initiative guarantee transactions in Romania, with the following commercial banks: Raiffeisen Bank, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) and ProCredit Bank.

These agreements aim to improve access to finance for over 4,300 Romanian SMEs, including micro companies and start-ups, by ensuring that the banks committed to the SME Initiative offer financing at lower interest rates.

The three guarantee transactions will generate a total of EUR 246 million of finance to SMEs in Romania, covering close to half of the target EUR 540 million of total funding available under the initiative. These three transactions were signed less than a year after the launch of the initiative in Romania.

Commenting on the new signatures, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased that the first three SME Initiative agreements have been signed in Romania so quickly. These transactions will generate EUR 246 million of SME financing over the coming years for Romanian SMEs. The combination of European Structural and Investment funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources allows EIF to provide risk-sharing and capital relief to financial intermediaries for the ultimate benefit of SMEs.”

Viceprime-minister, Minister of Regional Development, Public Administration and European Funds, Sevil Shhaideh said: “The signing of these agreements translates into lower interest rates through the banks participating in the implementation of the SME Initiative for the Romanian business environment. Here we refer to over 4,300 SMEs, including micro-enterprises and start-ups, who will benefit from the effects of these highly expected agreements on the Romanian market. Thus, SMEI OP supports business development smart and competitively.”

Commenting on this new initiative European Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: “ I am glad to see the SME initiative delivering for Romanian small businesses. SMEs play a crucial role in the country’s economy: they provide jobs to the local community and bring innovative products to the market. By choosing to invest EUR 100 million of its Cohesion Policy envelope in this pioneering programme, Romania has made a smart choice that will boost the competitiveness of its economy and get its businesses the funding they need.”

The SME Initiative Programme for Romania, launched in October 2016 and funded by EUR 100 million from European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), is part of a broader initiative of the European Commission and the EIB Group which entails an innovative change in the use of Cohesion Policy funds, combining the latter with EU central budget and EIB Group funds.

The contribution of Romania, alongside the EU central budget (resources from the Horizon 2020 Programme) and EIB Group funds allocated to the Programme, will be leveraged with commercial lending through a risk-sharing mechanism. This will result in more SMEs benefiting from European resources on advantageous terms, such as reduced interest rates and improved collateral requirements. This financial instrument will act as a catalyst for private investment and foster job creation within the SME community.

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the EIB 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 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 Raiffeisen Bank

Raiffeisen Bank Romania is a top universal bank that provides a large range of high quality products and services to individuals, SMEs and corporations. In total, around 5,000 employees service 2 million customers through 478 business outlets. Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), the group that owns 99.49 per cent of Raiffeisen Bank’s shares, is a leading banking network from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

About BCR

Banca Comercială Română (BCR), a member of Erste Group, is the most important financial group in Romania, providing universal banking operations (retail, corporate & investment banking, treasury and capital markets), and covering specialty companies working on the leasing market, private pensions and housing banks. BCR is Romania’s No. 1 bank in terms of asset value (over EUR 14,8 billion), in terms of client base and in terms of savings and crediting. BCR is also Romania’s most important financial brand, judging by the client trust rate and by the number of persons who consider that BCR is their main banking partner.

BCR offers a complete range of financial products and services through a network of 513 retail units located in most towns with more than 10.000 inhabitants, across the whole Romania, as well as 21 business centres and 23 mobile offices dedicated to companies. BCR commands the largest Self-serving banking Equipment network in the country – about 2.600 Equipment (ATMs, Multifunctional Machines, Automated Payment Terminals, FX Exchange Machines) as well as 12.000 POS terminals for payments by card at merchants.

About ProCredit Bank

ProCredit Bank, the only bank in Romania with 100% German shareholders, is part of the ProCredit group and has been active on the Roman market since 2002. ProCredit Bank is a development-oriented commercial bank, offering excellent customer service to both small and medium enterprises and to private individuals. In its operations, the bank adheres to a number of core principles: transparency in the communication with customers, defensive approach towards consumer lending, striving to minimize its ecological footprint and providing services which are based both on an understanding of each client’s situation and on sound financial analysis. 

In the operations with business clients, the focus is on small and medium-sized enterprises, as it is the bank’s firm conviction that these businesses create jobs and make a vital contribution to the economies in which they operate.

ProCredit Bank’ shareholders expect a sustainable return on investment over the long term, rather than being focused on short-term profit maximization by offering convenient, straightforward and accessible banking services and by promoting a culture of savings and financial responsibility.

Press contacts:

Raiffeisen Bank

Ionut Stanimir
Mobile: +40730073901 
Email: ionut.stanimir@bcr.ro

ProCredit Bank:
Andreea Pop
E-mail: andreea.pop@procredit-group.com

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

Dusan Ondrejicka
E-mail: d.ondrejicka@eib.org
Tel.: + +352 691 286423
Press Office: +352 4379 21000 
Follow us on Twitter @EIB


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