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Hellenic Bank joins EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme

By Axel  Reiserer

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€20 million finance line for Cypriot bank to facilitate foreign trade

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its support to Cypriot exporters and importers with a €20 million trade facility to Hellenic Bank under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). Hellenic Bank will become the third issuing bank under the programme in Cyprus.

Through the facility the EBRD will issue guarantees in favour of international commercial banks covering the political and commercial payment risk of the transactions undertaken by Hellenic Bank. In addition, Hellenic Bank will also benefit from the EBRD’s award-winning technical cooperation projects in trade finance.

Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, said: “We are pleased to sign this agreement in Cyprus with Hellenic Bank today. It will boost intra-regional trade and contribute to the development of trade links between Cyprus and other countries where the EBRD invests. Supporting the expansion of trade finance in Cyprus is critically important for the revival of the country’s economy by creating opportunities for growth and job creation.”

Libor Krkoška, EBRD’s Head of Office in Cyprus, said: “We are very happy to welcome Hellenic Bank, the leading commercial banking group in Cyprus, to our pioneering Trade Facilitation Programme. This agreement will allow Hellenic Bank to expand its corresponding bank network and stimulate working relationships with countries where the EBRD invests. We look forward to working together to support Cyprus’s exporters and importers.”

Bert Pijls, CEO of Hellenic Bank, added: “We are very excited to participate in the EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme which is particularly useful for financing exports of construction and engineering services to the Middle East and other Mediterranean countries, including risk cover for bid and performance bonds and funding of short-term pre-export finance loans. Participation in programmes like these is just one of the many ways Hellenic Bank contributes towards the build-up and growth of Cyprus’s economy.”

Hellenic Bank, established in 1976, is one of Cyprus’s largest banks with an established nationwide branch network employing more than 1,550 staff. It is a long-standing partner of the EBRD, and became a confirming bank under the TFP in March 2003.

Last year, the EBRD acquired a 5.4 per cent-stake in Hellenic Bank for €20 million.

Since it was started in 1999, the TFP has promoted foreign trade to, from and among the countries in which the EBRD invests. Through the programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors. The TFP currently includes almost 100 partner banks in 26 countries where the Bank invests, with limits exceeding €1.5 billion in total, and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.

To date, the EBRD has invested over €200 million including trade finance lines since the beginning of its operations in Cyprus in December 2014.

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