EBRD provides €75 million loan to Bank Zachodni WBK

By Axel  Reiserer

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For investments in energy improvements for residential buildings in Poland

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan of up to €75 million to Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. (BZ WBK) to finance investments that will improve the energy and resource efficiency of residential buildings in Poland.

The funds will be used for sub-loans in local currency to homeowners, housing associations and private sector providers for projects that will tackle the high energy and water consumption of the Polish residential sector.

The loan is being provided under the Polish Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Facility, a framework which offers commercially attractive loans for environmentally friendly investments. The residential sector in Poland consumes about 40 per cent of the country’s primary energy. The heating of residential building stock in Poland depends on coal and uses the largest share in the residential sector of the EU.

The EBRD facility is designed to lessen this dependence on coal by improving energy efficiency and reducing waste. As residential properties consume 53 per cent more energy per m2 than the EU average, improvements in this area will also support the country’s efforts to reach its CO2 emission targets.

The loan to BZ WBK is supported by a donor-funded technical cooperation package of up to €2.5 million, including €1 million funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, to assist the implementation of the project.

BZ WBK is the third-largest bank in Poland and in 2011 it became part of the Santander Group. The EBRD and BZ WBK have been partners for many years, for instance in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. In May 2015, the EBRD sold its residual stake in the bank on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President, said: “We are pleased to sign this loan today, because it will allow us to make a meaningful contribution to energy and resource efficiency improvements. Both from an economic and an environmental viewpoint this is very important for Poland. In BZ WBK we have found an effective partner with a strong market position and outreach to clients who will benefit strongly from the loans available under our project.”

Bartosz Wolny, Head of the Individual Customer Segment Area for BZ WBK, commented: “We are very happy to participate in the project, which on the one hand will enhance our credit offer to meet the needs of our clients who are interested in improving their homes. On the other hand it will contribute to protecting the natural environment through more efficient use of energy. We are also happy to collaborate once again with our longstanding partner.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Poland in 1991, the EBRD has invested €7.8 billion in some 365 projects in the country’s economy. Strengthening financial institutions, boosting energy efficiency by promoting a low-carbon economy and enhancing the private sector are priorities for the EBRD in Poland. The first EBRD project in 1991 ever was a loan to a predecessor to what is today BZ WBK.

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