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EBRD support for Raiffeisen in Albania boosts MSME lending

€65 million Guarantee For Growth extension builds on success of previous €100 million package

  • EBRD extends Guarantee for Growth to Raiffeisen Bank in Albania by €65 million
  • Unfunded guarantee will underpin new funding to small firms across Albania
  • Ten per cent of the guaranteed funds to be designated to green financing

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Raiffeisen Bank in Albania are teaming up once again to boost the availability of funding for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Albania.

The EBRD is providing Raiffeisen Bank in Albania with an unfunded guarantee of €65 million in local currency linked to the bank’s domestic sovereign bonds portfolio. The additional risk-taking capacity freed up by the guarantee will allow Raiffeisen Bank to commit fresh funds to Albania’s MSMEs, increasing its support for the real economy. Ten per cent of the newly available funds will be designated to green financing, in line with the EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach.

The additional guarantee is being offered under the EBRD’s innovative Guarantee for Growth facility, which it pioneered in late 2020 with Raiffeisen Bank in Albania to the tune of €100 million local currency equivalent. The extension builds on the success of the initiative to date.

Ekaterina Solovova, EBRD Head of Albania, said: “Access to finance for SMEs through cooperation with local banks is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Albania. We are pleased to partner once again with Raiffeisen Bank in Albania to support smaller firms, including in their green energy efforts.”

Christian Canacaris, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank in Albania, said: “After the success of the first Guarantee for Growth initiative with the EBRD, which increased the lending potential of the market, we are pleased to sign up for an additional guarantee of €65 million. The guarantee will boost green financing and impact the sustainable development of the country. We appreciate our excellent long-term cooperation with the EBRD and are confident that it will continue in future.”

The project is aligned with the EBRD’s dedicated technical cooperation programme with the Bank of Albania, the country’s central bank, which is focused on achieving equivalence of the local prudential framework with that of banks in the European Union. The programme is supported by the Luxembourg – Official Development Assistance (ODA) Technical Co-operation Fund and builds on work under the Vienna Initiative, where the EBRD is active in safeguarding the financial stability of emerging Europe by promoting the regulatory alignment of banks with international best practice.

Raiffeisen Bank is the second-largest bank in Albania in terms of loan portfolio, with a 16.6 per cent market share, providing general banking services countrywide. It is wholly owned by Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International AG.

To date, the EBRD has committed more than €1.8 billion to projects in Albania.

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