OHRID, FYR Macedonia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) signed a loan agreement of EUR 5.4 million with Belarus' Belarusian Bank for Small Business (BBSB) today during its Annual Meeting in Ohrid, FYR Macedonia. The credit facility will broaden access to finance for small business in Belarus. It is the first investment of EFSE in Belarus. The loan is split between a USD 4.5 million and EUR 2.0 million tranche.
BBSB will use the proceeds of the EFSE loan to finance investments and working capital of small business in Belarus with long-term loans worth up to EUR 100,000, thus addressing the lack of credit available to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the country.
The loan extended to BBSB will help the institution diversify its funding base and support the Bank's dynamic expansion of its product range and branch network. BBSB aims to significantly grow its loan portfolio in 2010 in order to meet the strong unmet demand for small business credit in Belarus.
Founded in 2007, BBSB is Belarus's first bank dedicated to serving the needs of MSEs in the country. The Bank's founders include leading international public and private financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), IFC and KfW (The German Development Bank). The main focus of the Bank is to support development of small businesses in Belarus by providing a range of banking services to private entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium sized businesses.
EFSE's loan to BBSB is being provided under the European Neighbourhood Small Business Growth Facility (ENBF), a dedicated European Neighbourhood window within the EFSE structure.
EFSE began its operations in Belarus in December 2009, when it expanded to include further countries of the European Eastern Neighbourhood Region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus.
Over the next five years, EFSE is expected to provide financing in a total amount of EUR 300 million to financial institutions in the European Eastern Neighbourhood region, including Moldova and Ukraine. This will allow EFSE to facilitate approximately 100,000 business loans to MSEs and housing loans to low-income private households in the region.
Since its inception in December 2005 until December 2009, EFSE has offered a total of EUR 684 million in financing to commercial banks, small-business banks and microfinance institutions throughout Southeast Europe. These partner lending institutions have on-lent EUR 1.1 billion of EFSE funds in the form of roughly 216,000 business and housing loans.
About the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)
The microfinance fund European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) is aimed at fostering economic development and prosperity in Southeast Europe. It offers long-term funding instruments to local financial institutions for on-lending loans to small business, in particular to micro and small enterprises (MSEs), as well as housing loans to low-income private households.
For further information about EFSE, please visit: www.efse.lu
Mr. Samir Djikic,
Tel: +49 69 977 876 50-26
Mobile: +49 171 55 20 839