EIF, Raiffeisenbank Serbia sign loan guarantee deal to back SMEs

Banking

Raiffeisenbank’s Serbian unit has signed a EUR 60 million (USD 73.4 million) loan guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) to support local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), EIF said last week.

The loan guarantees are provided by the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) program, launched by the European Commission to improve access to finance for SMEs, and will allow Raiffeisenbank Serbia to offer a new, more flexible credit line with increased maturities and fewer collateral requirements to finance working capital and investments, EIF said in a statement.

The agreement introduces two new guarantee initiatives under the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility in Serbia including COSME Digitalization, designed to help SMEs and digitalize their business operations, the EIF said. The guarantees unlock new sources of financing for Serbia at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is burdening SMEs with liquidity issues and restricting their ability to access finance, maintain daily operations and fund expansion plans, the EIF noted. 

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