Serbia: EFSE Signs Its Largest Loan Agreement Ever: EUR 25 Million to Banca Intesa
Frankfurt & Belgrade, Serbia, March, 26 2010 -
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), the world's largest microfinance investment fund, and the commercial bank Banca Intesa a.d. Belgrade (Banca Intesa), Serbia, today announced the signing of a senior loan agreement.
Under the agreement, Banca Intesa will take a loan of EUR 25 million from EFSE. The loan will be utilised for further on-lending to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Serbia, a sector that has been hit particularly hard by the crisis. EFSE's financing supports the bank's growth strategy, which aims to expand the penetration of loans to small businesses also in the segment of agriculture, where financing needs remain very high.
Sylvia Wisniwski, Chief Operating Officer of EFSE and Managing Director of EFSE's Fund Advisor Finance in Motion GmbH, said: "The investment fits EFSE's strategy of supporting well-managed and financially sustainable financial institutions that are at the same time committed to fair banking practices. Not only will the funding infuse long-term liquidity to support Banca Intesa's lending program to small businesses, allowing the Bank to offer better loan conditions in the form of longer maturities to more than 1,500 additional small businesses. It also has a significant development impact on the Serbian economy, creating and securing jobs and income."
"Strategic determination to support and invest in development of entrepreneurial spirit is what makes Banca Intesa one of Serbia's leading banks in the small business segment. As the needs of our clients make the starting point in devising and creating our products, we strive to offering small entrepreneurs all services that large companies already have at their disposal. We expect that our cooperation with EFSE will stimulate the entrepreneurial sector and help them achieve the best results possible", said Dejan Tesic, member of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa and Head of the Retail and Small Business Division.
EFSE is one of the largest single providers of finance for MSEs in Southeast Europe. Since its inception in December 2005, the Fund has invested a cumulative total of over EUR 710 million in Southeast Europe, facilitating more than 200,000 loans to MSEs and low-income private households.
Sylvia Wisniwski added: "EFSE will continue to help ensure a continuous flow of financing to small businesses. The Fund stands ready to invest over EUR 200 million in the Southeast European MSE finance sector in 2010. In doing so, the Fund will provide much-needed financing to more than 20,000 MSEs."