The EBRD is lending the leading Polish cooperative bank association, BPS, up to €25 million (at least 80 per cent of which will be drawn in zloty) for on-lending to small and medium-sized businesses and farmers via cooperative banks associated with BPS.
Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości, the biggest player in SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) and agricultural cooperative finance, will use the loan to expand the financing available to small businesses in small towns and villages in the east of Poland. BPS consists of 366 cooperative banks, which are mostly small local banks and it has a wide network of branches in the disadvantaged east of Poland.
The 5-year loan will be accompanied by a technical cooperation package worth €1.2 million, funded by grants from donors and other sources. The technical cooperation aims to help BPS and the cooperative bank members of BPS to develop their own rural and MSME (micro, small and medium-sized business) lending.
"Cooperative banks in Poland are one of the main sources of finance for small agricultural businesses and rural communities. The EBRD is committed to supporting agriculture and small business in Poland, and this new loan to BPS will help increase the availability of financing in some of the areas not served by any other bank," said Lucyna Stańczak, Country Director for Poland.
Miroslaw Potulski, President of the Board of the Bank BPS, concludes: “Cooperative banks and entrepreneurs from the SME sector are natural business partners. Our collaboration allows us to optimise the outcome by promoting the local environment – stimulating the local economy, entrepreneurship and creating workplaces. Our philosophy is bound to the client for a longer period of time, providing a comprehensive service. It is important to build consensus through mutual trust, both for the period of prosperity and crisis.”
Since the beginning of its operations in Poland, the EBRD has invested over €5 billion in more than 280 projects in various sectors of the country's economy, mobilising over €17 billion from other sources of financing.