11/18/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/18/2020 05:01
After a successful and thorough due diligence by The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Investment bank (EIB), the twin Luxembourg based Multilateral Institutes have given a serious show of confidence to Silk Road Bank, its Management, its Business Model, Its Corporate Governance as well as the Bank's Swiss Shareholder and their professionalism. The Bank is humbled by this show of support by these two institutions and shall endeavor to be the 'best in breed'.
Thanks to the EaSI Guarantee, funded by the European Union and implemented on its behalf by the European Investment Fund (EIF), Silk Road Bank AD Skopje will be able to issue up to €5 million in microcredits to micro-companies in North Macedonia. Loans under this agreement will be available to companies with a maximum of 9 employees. The annual turnover of the company should not exceed €2 million.
The funds are allocated from the budget of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ('EaSI'), which aims to support the EU's objective of high levels of employment and adequate social protection, while fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis of the EaSI programme provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance, which includes microcredit i.e. loans of up to €25,000, in particular for vulnerable persons and micro-enterprises.
To this end, Silk Road Bank has created the Bizz UP package of products intended for financing of vulnerable categories of clients as well as start ups and companies in their development phase with an operating history of up to 36 months. Following the signing of the cooperation agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), Silk Road Bank as а financial intermediary will support financing of these categories of clients on the domestic market, through the funds from the Employment and Social Innovation Program (EaSI) financed directly by the European Union. The Bizz UP package consist several micro finance products, such as overdraft, loans for working capital needs and investment loans.
Alain Godard, EIF Chief Executive, stated: 'We are happy to be able to provide this kind of support for the private sector in the Western Balkans, especially to micro-enterprises and startups that often face significant difficulty in accessing finance and have been hardest hit by the pandemic. The EU-supported guarantees will enable Silk Road Bank to offer loans on more favourable terms and conditions for their working capital and investment needs. In this way, we help companies maintain liquidity, support existing jobs and create inclusive employment opportunities in the longer-term.
'Silk Road Bank, in the middle of the COVID pandemic crises introduces the Bizz UP Package of products especially designed to support vulnerable categories of clients, as well as Micro-Enterprises, either in startup or development phase with financial support in amount of up to €25.000, with privileged interest rates in comparison to the regular interest rates and favorable payment terms. These products are supported by the European Investment Fund through the Employment and Social Innovation Program through taking over a part of the credit risk of these exposures' said Mr. Igor Dimitrov, President of the Bank's Management Board.
European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation
Under this programme, the European Commission supports microfinance and social entrepreneurship finance with an overall envelope of €193 million for the 2014-2020 period. The aim is to increase access to microfinance i.e. loans of up to €25.000, in particular for vulnerable people and microenterprises. In Addition, for the first time, the European Commission is also supporting social enterprises with investment of up to €500.000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is first implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which will enable microcredit providers and social enterprise investors to reach out to entrepreneurs they would not have been able to finance otherwise for risk consideration. The European Commission has selected the EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee. https://www.eif.org/what_we_do/microfinance/easi/easi-funded-instrument/index.htm.
About the European Investment Fund (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. EIF designs and develops both 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. https://www.eif.org
About Silk Road Bank AD Skopje
Silk Road Bank is the former Greek owned Alpha Bank AD Skopje which was taken over by Swiss Holding Company, Silk Road Capital, in May 2016. The bank was founded in 1993 under the name of Kreditna Banka AD Skopje and was one of the first privately funded banks in Macedonia. The turn around at Silk Road Bank that started in May 2016 has been very challenging. Since then Silk Road Bank AD Skopje is focused on growth and shall continue its proven business strategy by embedding bank's products and services to the needs of the clients and oriented towards the current aspects of the banking business, improved products and innovations, thus confirming the image of a dynamic and state-of-the-art European Bank which follows market trends and demands and meets the needs of its clients.