The EBRD is assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s preparation for possible membership of the European Union with a loan of up to €5 million to support local business development.
The funds will be made available through Sparkasse Bank BiH to finance investment to meet EU standards in such areas as environmental protection, occupational health and safety, and product quality.
The loan will enable Sparkasse Bank BiH to diversify its portfolio of small and medium size enterprise (SME) lending products and funding sources, while meeting increased demand for longer-term financing from local private companies.
Sanel Kusturica, CEO of Sparkasse Bank BiH, said: “The new loan is in line with our work to intensify financing of the real economy which was our focus over the last years. All the funds will be used to support small and medium enterprises in the projects that comply with the EU directives that will help to improve the quality of business and will be one of the steps towards European integration”.
The loan has been extended under the EBRD’s Private Sector Support Facility for the Western Balkans - a €110 million framework aimed at bringing regional businesses into line with EU standards. The loan is complemented by technical assistance and grant financing from the European Commission and the Western Balkans Multi-Donor Fund.
The grant financing will enable Sparkasse Bank BiH to support its clients develop and implement eligible investment projects and to reimburse part of their cost on completion.
Giulio Moreno, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Sarajevo, said: “The EBRD strongly welcomes the participation of Sparkasse Bank BiH in this project. Its rapid growth and wide branch network will improve the outreach of the programme and increase competition among banks”.