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EBRD provides local currency loans for SMEs in Belarus

By Anton Usov

New project with BNB-Bank to support real sector lending, reduce foreign exchange risks

  • EBRD local currency loan of BYN 10 million for BNB-Bank
  • Improved access to funds for domestic small firms
  • Reduced risk in relation to foreign exchange

More businesses in Belarus, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will benefit from fresh funds available through a new finance agreement signed between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB-Bank) today.

The EBRD is providing a senior loan of up to 10 million Belarusian roubles (equivalent to €3.8 million) under its Covid-19 response, for on-lending to local small businesses. Providing funding in local currency will limit the risks that borrowers face with regard to exchange rates.

The privately owned BNB-Bank has been a client of the EBRD since 2011 and was one of the first institutions in Belarus to start lending in local currency. The loan will also help support BNB-Bank’s liquidity and strengthen its position as a growing lender in the SME market segment.

The EBRD expects the entirety of its investments of up to €21 billion in 2020-21 to be dedicated to the response to and the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Part of this effort is a Resilience Framework for existing clients, offering immediate support through the provision of short-term working capital, liquidity and the restructuring of exposures.

Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested almost €2.9 billion in 134 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy.

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