The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed an SME Initiative guarantee transaction in Finland with Nordea Bank.
The agreement will improve access to finance for close to 400 Finnish SMEs, including micro companies and start-ups, by ensuring that the banks committed to the SME Initiative offer financing at improved conditions, for example lower interest rates, longer maturities or lower collateral requirements.
The transaction with Nordea Bank now means that Finnish SMEs have access to a total of EUR 370 million of loans from four Finnish banks under the SME initiative.
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “The rapid deployment of the SME initiative in Finland shows that there is a demand for jointly managed finance products in the country. I am delighted that the signature with Nordea Bank will generate EUR 150 million of loans for Finnish businesses. A total of EUR 370 million of finance is now available for Finnish companies under the SME initiative and we expect to be announcing new financing opportunities in Finland in the coming months.”
Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä said:” SME Initiative is a great example how European Commission, EIB Group and Republic of Finland can improve Finnish SMEs access to finance which is crucial for growth and job creation in Finland. Nordea Bank joining the SME Initiative as a fourth bank in the short period of time indicates the need for the program. SME Initiative is a significant financial instrument which supports entrepreneurs wishing to grow and develop their business”.
Nordea Head of Business Banking Finland, Sampsa Laine said: “We are excited to be part of the initiative. SME Initiative Finland is very well suited for companies in start-up and growth phase because it provides them with an alternative for collaterals and, hence, enables investments that would not be made otherwise. It is important for us to guarantee our customers access to all sources of financing and the initiative enables us to bolster economic growth in the all-important SME sector.”
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu added: “In less than a year after the launch of the programme, we are about to reach our objective of unlocking EUR 400 million of additional funding opportunities for Finnish businesses. This shows that the SME initiative delivers, and delivers fast. I hope more countries will join the initiative.”
The SME Initiative is a joint programme blending support from the European Commission, EIB Group and Republic of Finland with a view to stimulating SME financing by providing partial risk cover for SME loan portfolios originated by financial entities. Alongside EUR 20 m of Cohesion Policy funds (European Regional and Development Fund resources) and EUR 20 m of national budget contributed by the Republic of Finland, the SME Initiative is co-funded through Horizon 2020 resources as well as benefitting from EIB Group resources.
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 (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops 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.
The EIB is the EU’s long-term lending institution and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment, contributing to growth, jobs, regional convergence and climate action in Europe and beyond.
To maximise growth and job creation, the EIB targets four priority areas: innovation and skills, SMEs, climate action and strategic infrastructure across the EU.
About Nordea Bank
We build strong and close relationships through our engagement with customers and society. Whenever people strive to reach their goals and realise their dreams, we are there to provide relevant financial solutions. We are the largest bank in the Nordic region and among the ten largest financial groups in Europe in terms of total market capitalisation with around 11 million customers, 31,500 employees and 600 branch office locations. The Nordea share is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm, Nasdaq Helsinki and Nasdaq Copenhagen exchanges. Read more about us on nordea.com.
Source: European Investment Fund