EIF Signs Guarantee Deal with Serbia's Banca Intesa Beograd to Back SMEs

Dec 2016
Serbia, December, 07 2016 - The European Investment Fund (EIF) said on Wednesday it signed a guarantee agreement with Serbia's Banca Intesa Beograd to extend a total of 60 million euro ($64 million) in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country in the next two years.

The agreement envisages lending with increased maturities and without any hard collateral and is the first one in Serbia under the  EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), the EIF said in a statement.  

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economies. Made possible by the backing of the European Commisson's COSME programme, this deal with allow 3,000 SMEs in Serbia to gain easier access to financing and benefit from loans to support their businesses," European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said in the statement.

COSME is running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of 2.3 billion euro. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to easing access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments, namely the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility, which supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions, and the COSME Equity Facility, which provides risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages.

"Entrepreneurs and SMEs are the pillar of Serbia’s economic growth and employment, and the agreement we signed today will enable us to provide them with much-needed funding under better-than-market conditions, with a lower interest rate, longer maturity and, what is perhaps the most important to them – with no mortgage,” the president of Banca Intesa Beograd, Draginja Djuric, pointed out.

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. The fund designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment.

Source : SeeNews

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