01/12/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/12/2021 09:51
Companies across Greece can now benefit from a new EUR 500 million European Investment Fund initiative to be managed across the country by five leading local banks.
The scheme, announced by Prime Minister Mitsotakis last year, will improve access to finance by companies and accelerate investment to enhance competitiveness and foster greater entrepreneurship.
Companies from the manufacturing and services sectors, among others, will soon be able to benefit from the four-year programme by contacting branches of participating banks following technical agreements with participating banks finalised in recent weeks.
The new lending programme was formally launched in a virtual ceremony earlier today by Deputy Minister Yiannis Tsakiris, European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard and representatives of the five participating banks.
'This new guarantee fund, which will be managed by the European Investment Fund, is yet another targeted addition to the comprehensive range of measures and actions by the Greek government to provide liquidity to the market. It concerns guaranteed, low-interest investment loans that will allow Greek SMEs to make necessary investments so they can prepare for the new reality expected to emerge in the market' said Yiannis Tsakiris, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments.
'Businesses across Greece can now benefit from this new and timely investment programme. Intense cooperation between Greek and European financial experts over recent months will now enable EUR 500 million of new investment. The European Union stands by Greece in this challenging time' said Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.
'This new initiative, supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Development and Investments and the European Commission, will directly benefit priority sectors thanks to the local knowledge of our Greek banking partners. We will now ensure together that hundreds of Greek companies can expand, innovate and create jobs in the years ahead. The European Investment Bank Group, through the financial and technical expertise of our dedicated Investment Team for Greece, is committed to further supporting long-term investment that strengthens private sector growth in Greece' said Alain Godard, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund.
Attica Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece (NBG), Piraeus Bank and ProCredit Bank will manage the lending programme designed to provide immediate liquidity to businesses that can incorporate state funding into their business plans.
Companies will benefit from lower interest rates, reduced collateral requirements and reduced fees depending on their investment focus.
Under the new initiative the European Investment Fund will manage EU budget funds provided under the Operational Programme for Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and support lending to local companies by banks active across the country. The initiative represents the third ESIF mandate managed by EIF in Greece for the programming period 2014-2020.
'We look forward to joining forces with EIF once again, in order to provide to Greek SMEs access to financing on more favorable terms. The new ESIF ERDF Guarantee Program can become the catalyst for the implementation of businesses' development plans as they strive to grow and become more competitive. It is expected to have a significant impact on the business community during these difficult times, when SMEs are particularly interested in financing tools which will help them grow while at the same time offer terms that are relevant and supportive' said Christina Theofilidi, General Manager of Retail Banking and BoD Executive member NBG.
'For Eurobank, the strengthening of the competitiveness of the Greek economy and Greek entrepreneurship in all stages of business development is a strategic choice, which is more necessary than ever today given the pressing need for the economic recovery to speed up after the new crisis caused by the pandemic. In this context, Eurobank is using the opportunities made available by the European Investment Fund (EIF), leading the way in the absorption of funds from similar programs, and is supporting innovative and sustainable entrepreneurship as well as providing financing to boost the competitiveness of SMEs, which, among other things, are a mainstay of employment in Greece' said Iacovos Giannaklis, General Manager of Retail Banking Eurobank.
'The ESIF ERDF initiative is the first EU program in which Attica Bank participates and this is a milestone in its historical course. Through this program, Attica Bank will continue supporting existing and potential customers, in order to alleviate the effects of the pandemic, while using the available tools to finance investment plans and to facilitate the efforts made for increasing employment opportunities through sustainable long-term economic growth. Starting with this program, Attica Bank, will continue to explore all possible tools made available through EU financial instruments in order to offer to its customers the best available options for their financial needs' said Athanasios Psyllos, Chief Corporate Officer Attica Bank.
'ProCredit Bank has been a major partner for small and medium-sized enterprises in Greece since it started operations in 2015. The bank has already supported around 600 Greek companies with almost EUR 300 million. The new agreement with the European Investment Fund together with our in-house expertise and experience will strengthen our efforts to support SMEs in upgrading and expanding their activities. Access to such financing in less-developed regions is a crucial prerequisite for enabling these companies to invest, grow and create new jobs, as well as helping to sustain the development of the Greek economy' said Kameliya Mineva, Member of the Management Board and Executive Director ProCredit Bank.
'Piraeus Bank is expanding its long established cooperation with the European Investment Fund by participating in the Guarantee Facility ESIF - EFRD. Today, small and medium enterprises are facing numerous challenges, navigating their way through the economic aftermath of the pandemic. In this context, Piraeus Bank welcomes the new initiative, that facilitates financing, through the guarantees provided by EIF. Through this facility, Piraeus Bank plans to provide liquidity to SMEs for working capital expansionneeds, but also extend investment loans, with favorable terms, supporting the transition of Greek SMEs to a post-COVID era of growth' said Eleni Vrettou, Executive General Manager, Commercial & Investment Banking.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
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. The EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment.