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EIF provides credit guarantees to leading Greek banks to unlock up to €4.5 billion of SME lending

    Date: 26 April 2024
  • European Investment Fund (EIF) mobilises financing for Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • First guarantee agreements signed with four Greek banks under the InvestEU Member State compartment
  • EIF guarantees backed by up to €400 million of Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds

The European Investment Fund (EIF) signed guarantee agreements with Greece’s top four banks to mobilise up to about  €4.5 billion in financing for  small and medium-sized enterprises, the greening of the Greek economy, innovation, and the country’s digital transition.

The series of capped portfolio guarantees is backed by the InvestEU Member State compartment for Greece, utilising resources under Greece’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP). The EIF, part of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), is providing the guarantees to Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank, the country’s leading lenders and long-term partners of the EIB Group. This allows them to extend more financing to SMEs under favourable terms.

The signature ceremony with all four banks took place on Friday in Athens and marks the start of the implementation of the EIF’s mandate., The banks are now able to provide much-needed financing to eligible businesses across the country, backed by the EU guarantee.

“Thanks to the excellent collaboration with the Greek authorities, the European Commission and our first implementing partners, three guarantee instruments under the InvestEU programme, backed by RRF resources, are now available to support Greek small and medium-sized enterprises. This financial support will improve access to finance for Greek businesses, incentivising investments in innovation and sustainability and driving the green and digital transition, which is fully in line with the strategic orientation of the Greek government, the EIB Group, and the EU,” said European Investment Fund (EIF) CEO Marjut Falkstedt.

“Today's agreement is yet another important tool, but also additional proof of the role played by the resources from the Recovery and Resilience Fund in order to achieve the strategic goal of strengthening entrepreneurship and increasing the competitiveness, mainly of small and medium-sized enterprises, while at the same time expanding their lending capabilities from our banks,” said Alternate Minister of Economy and Finance Nikos Papathanasis. He added: “It also contributes to innovation, and the green, digital and just transition in the context of the national plan to modernize our production model, through robust and sustainable development, with social cohesion, prosperity and better income for all of our fellow citizens.”

“The InvestEU Credit Guarantee instrument backed by funds of the Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ is devoted to Small and Medium Enterprises enabling their access to finance. Our cooperation with the EIF offers a concrete solution to a critical issue for Greek businesses by providing guarantees to investment loans and working capital enhancing their competitiveness, sustainability, innovation and digital transformation”, said Governor of the Recovery & Resilience Fund Agency, Orestis Kavalakis

The EIF guarantee enables the partner banks to offer improved financing terms such as lower interest rates, reduced collateral requirements and reduced down-payment obligations for investment loans. Moreover, with the EIF guarantee, the banks can offer longer maturities and increased financing volumes and support excluded segments such as startups.

The portfolio guarantee products offered are the Sustainability Guarantee, which aims at supporting financing of investments in climate action, energy efficiency and renewable energy; the SME Competitiveness Guarantee, focusing on improving access to finance for SMEs; and the Innovation & Digitalisation Guarantee, enhancing access to finance of R&D-intensive Greek enterprises and supporting the uptake of digital technologies and digital transformation of Greek SMEs and Small Mid-Caps.

Background information


The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. It supports Europe’s small businesses by improving their access to finance through a wide range of selected financial intermediaries such as banks, guarantee and leasing companies, micro-credit providers and private equity funds. The EIF designs and offers equity and debt financing instruments fostering EU objectives in support of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, the green and digital transitions and employment.

About the InvestEU Member State compartment

The InvestEU Member State compartment enables the Member States to contribute part of their shared management funds, resources from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and national resources to the InvestEU Fund by setting up a dedicated Member State Compartment. With this voluntary contribution, Member States can leverage on the InvestEU guarantee to support specific national priorities. Under the Member State Compartment, loans, guarantees or equity investments can be offered as a complement to other public and private investments.

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