First cooperation between EBRD and Kosovo member of NLB Group
The EBRD is beginning cooperation with a new partner bank in Kosovo, NLB Banka Prishtina, with a €5 million credit facility under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). NLB Banka Prishtina will use the programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trade across borders. This is the first EBRD cooperation with NLB Banka Prishtina.
The project was signed during a visit to Pristina by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The President said: “Cross-border economic integration is one of the EBRD’s strategic priorities, and cross-border trade is especially important for Kosovo and the Western Balkans region. I am happy that we are beginning our cooperation with NLB Banka Prishtina with a focus on this goal.”
Albert Lumezi, President of the Management Board, signed the project on behalf of NLB Banka Prishtina. He said: “Through the TFP agreement, the bank will have a great opportunity to cooperate with more correspondent banks, which will enable our clients to gain expertise in new markets, and to build relationships with its counterparts around the world.”
NLB Banka Prishtina (NLB BP) is a subsidiary of NLB Slovenia, which already cooperates with the EBRD through a number of its subsidiaries in the region. NLB BP is the third-largest bank in Kosovo by assets and operates across the whole country through 9 regional branches and 37 sub-branches. It serves a diverse customer base, from large corporates and SMEs to private customers.
The EBRD’s TFP network consists of over 800 confirming banks and over 100 issuing banks in over 20 EBRD countries of operations. In countries with developing banking systems such partnerships between local and foreign banks enable firms to perform crucial operations such as the import of production equipment.
In addition to the €5 million credit line for trade finance, the EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme will provide NLB BP with technical assistance and advanced training.
Including this project, the EBRD has invested €203 million in 49 projects in Kosovo. Strengthening regional integration is one of the three key priorities of the EBRD under the Bank’s medium-term strategy, which aims to re-energise growth in its countries of operations, promote regional integration and address global and regional challenges. Improved connectivity and regional integration will be named as one of the key strategic priorities under the forthcoming EBRD country strategy for Kosovo.