European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a global microfinance investment fund, and commercial bank Banca Intesa Belgrade (Banca Intesa), Serbia, have signed a senior loan agreement.
Under the agreement, Banca Intesa will take a loan of EUR25m 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 high.
Sylvia Wisniwski, chief operating officer of EFSE and managing director of EFSE’s fund advisor Finance in Motion, said: “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.”
Dejan Tesic, member of the executive board, head of the retail and small business division at of Banca Intesa, said: “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.”
Banca Intesa ad Beograd is a subsidiary of Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo.