The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is lending Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d., Ljubljana (NLB), the largest bank in Slovenia, €30 million to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Balkans gain access to more finance to build or expand their businesses.
The EBRD’s loan will be used to provide medium-term funds solely through NLB’s banking subsidiaries in the Western Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia for on lending to SMEs in those countries.
NLB’s subsidiaries are all working in the SME sector of their respective markets. This sector is clearly a key to future growth and profitability of the NLB’s regional network.
Speaking at the loan signing ceremony in Ljubljana, Jean-Marc Peterschmitt, EBRD Managing Director for Central and South-Eastern Europe, said the loan was part of a wider EBRD initiative to work with commercial banks in the region to enable entrepreneurs to gain more access to finance and become more competitive.
“With this key investment, the EBRD builds on the EBRD-NLB relationship in central and eastern Europe, where both institutions work successfully in four countries to support the real economy. Local banks will be able to sustain their SME credit lines to fund lending to SMEs and thereby to aid further economic recovery and growth,” said Mr Peterschmitt.
Since the beginning of its operations in the Western Balkans, the EBRD has invested about €4.8 billion in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro.