An EBRD loan of USD 8 million to Belarus’ privately owned Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB) will support the real economy by providing longer-term funding for micro, small and medium-sized firms (MSMEs).
The four-year loan, the EBRD’s first to BNB, was signed in Minsk today. BNB has been participating in the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) since April 2011.
The proceeds of this loan are earmarked for on-lending to small businesses, including in the regions outside the capital, Minsk. This sector holds the key to job creation and grassroots economic growth and remains a priority target for the Bank.
Access to finance has been a major problem for small businesses which were particularly hard hit by the financial turmoil the country went through in 2011 when the value of the Belarus rouble plunged and both inflation and interest rates soared.
BNB ranks 19th among the country’s commercial banks, as measured by total assets. The sector is dominated by state-owned banks. BNB is one of nine banks in Belarus to have received EBRD funding so far. BNB has been majority owned by Bank of Georgia since May 2008.
Today’s loan brings EBRD commitments to Belarus’s financial sector in 2012 (not including trade finance) to over EUR 25 million.
In Belarus, the EBRD focuses on promoting private businesses, MSMEs developing the banking sector and improving critical infrastructure. To date, the EBRD has committed over €1.03 billion in various sectors of the Belarus economy.