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EBRD mobilises external financing to expand SME lending activity in Belarus

By Anton Usov

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a syndicated loan of up to US$ 12 million to privately owned Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB-Bank). The proceeds will allow BNB-Bank, which concentrates its activity on lending to small and medium domestic businesses, to get access to the syndicated loan market and expand its SME financing activity across Belarus.

The loan will consist of an A loan of up to US$ 5 million for the EBRD’s own account and a B loan of up to US$ 7 million will be syndicated to European Fund for Southeast Europe and Impulse Microfinance Investment Fund (by Incofin Investment Management).

Henry Russell, Director, FI Western Balkans, Belarus, Moldova & Ukraine, said: “This is the first syndicated loan arranged by EBRD to BNB-Bank aimed at mobilizing long-term funding from foreign participants. BNB is a very good example of how a private bank can successfully compete with large state owned banks, especially in such a vibrant sector as SME lending. This banking institution shares our business values and our strategy as to small business development.”

“We appreciate trust and support of our partner, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which helps us attract much needed financial resources for small and medium businesses to Belarus. We also glad to widen the range of BNB partners by attracting Incofin and EFSE. SME support is the main area of activity for BNB-Bank and we are interested in possibilities of attracting financing with longer maturities and in widening our funding base, which will allow our bank to fully meet growing demand from SMEs. This work will continue”, said Constantine Tsereteli, Director General of Belarusky Narodny Bank.

The EBRD is a major investor in Belarus. As of October 2014 the Bank had signed 66 projects worth over €1.4 billion through, €883 million of which was invested in the past five years.

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