Converse Bank WiB Loan



Project number:


Business sector:

Financial institutions

Notice type:


Environmental category:


Approval date:

21 Jan 2020



PSD disclosed:

20 Jan 2020

As per section 1.4.2 (iii) of the Directive on Access to Information: "For Projects approved by Bank management where the Board of Directors has delegated the approval authority, the PSD shall be disclosed at the start of the relevant no-objection notification period to a member country of the Bank in accordance with Article 13 (iii) of the Agreement Establishing the EBRD."

Project Description

Provision of a senior unsecured loan in the amount of up to USD 2 million equivalent in local currency to Converse Bank, a joint-stock company incorporated in Armenia, for on-lending to women-led MSMEs in the frames of the Women in Business (WiB) Programme in the Eastern Partnership countries.

The loan will be complemented by the development of sustainable credit mechanisms targeted at women-led MSMEs through technical assistance to Converse Bank and technical support for women-led SMEs in accessing know-how, business development tools and networking opportunities.

Project Objectives

The project aims to promote women's entrepreneurship and participation in business by improving their access to finance and advice through dedicated credit lines and tailored technical assistance programmes. A special focus will be given to distribution of funds in the regions and outreach to new customers.

Transition Impact

ETI score: 80

Inclusive: The Project addresses the "medium" gender related inclusion gap for access to finance in Armenia. It will help Converse Bank develop, test, and roll out tailored sustainable credit mechanisms targeted at women-led MSMEs through technical assistance and strengthen their capacities to effectively reach out to the target segment via marketing and other outreach activities. The project will also improve access to term funding in local currency for women led MSMEs in the country.

Competitive:  The project supports competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in Armenia by facilitating their access to local currency financing and also contributes to competitiveness of Converse Bank by assiting it in expansion of product portfolio.

Client Information


Converse Bank CJSC is an established dynamically growing bank, which offers a wide range of banking services to individuals and legal entities. Among the 17 banks in Armenia it ranks the 6th by three indicators: total assets (5.6% market share), loan portfolio (6.2% market share) and customer deposits (6.5% market share) as of 3Q 2019.

Converse Bank CJSC is ultimately owned by Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentine businessman with Armenian roots.

EBRD Finance Summary

USD 2,000,000.00

Total Project Cost

USD 2,000,000.00


Financing Structure: EBRD offers local currency financing on terms not readily available in the market but necessary for achievement of the project objectives.

Standard-setting: helping projects and clients achieve higher standards: Converse Bank benefits from EBRD's expertise on higher inclusion and gender standards. Additionality is achieved through a non-TC grant that enables Converse Bank to enter the underdeveloped WiB segment as well as  TC package to assist Converse Bank in product develpoment. Converse Bank benefits from EBRD's experience in Advice for Small Businesses activities aimed at providing access to advice to WiB segment.

The project will also benefit from EBRD expertise on higher financial standards, including through financial covenants.

Environmental and Social Summary

Categorised FI (2014 ESP). Converse Bank is an existing client under the Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and has provided an updated ESDD questionnaire to confirm its adherence to EBRD's requirements for FIs. The bank will be required to comply with EBRD's Performance Requirement s 2, 4 and 9, implement the EBRD's Environmental&Social Risk Management Procedures for Micro, SME and Corporate lending which includes adherence to the EBRD's Environmental and Social Exclusion List and submission of annual E&S reports via the Sustainability Index to the Bank. Sub-borrowers financed through Converse Bank's loan will be required to comply with national environmental, health, safety and labour (EHSL) requirements.

Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing

TC: The TC support is organised at the level of the Regional WiB TC Programme for Eastern Partnership countries and funded by SIDA (EUR 2.2 million). The average TC amount per partner financial institution under the Programme is between EUR 200,000 and EUR 300,000.

Non-TC: The project is supported by First Loss Risk Cover of up to 10% of the loan portfolio with a cap of 70% for any single sub-loan funded by the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund.

Company Contact Information

Grant Akopian
+374 10511211 ext 1373
+374 10 511212
Head office 0010, Yerevan, 26/1, Vazgen Sargsyan

PSD last updated

20 Jan 2020

Understanding Transition

Further information regarding the EBRD’s approach to measuring transition impact is available here.

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

For business opportunities with EBRD (not related to procurement) contact:

Tel: +44 20 7338 7168

For state-sector projects, visit EBRD Procurement:

Tel: +44 20 7338 6794

General enquiries

Specific enquiries can be made using the EBRD Enquiries form.

Environmental and Social Policy (ESP)

The ESP and the associated Performance Requirements (PRs) set out the ways in which the EBRD implements its commitment to promoting “environmentally sound and sustainable development”.  The ESP and the PRs include specific provisions for clients to comply with the applicable requirements of national laws on public information and consultation as well as to establish a grievance mechanism to receive and facilitate resolution of stakeholders’ concerns and grievances, in particular, about environmental and social performance of the client and the project. Proportionate to the nature and scale of a project’s environmental and social risks and impacts, the EBRD additionally requires its clients to disclose information, as appropriate, about the risks and impacts arising from projects or to undertake meaningful consultation with stakeholders and consider and respond to their feedback.

More information on the EBRD’s practices in this regard is set out in the ESP.

Integrity and Compliance

The EBRD's Office of the Chief Compliance Officer (OCCO) promotes good governance and ensures that the highest standards of integrity are applied to all activities of the Bank in accordance with international best practice. Integrity due diligence is conducted on all Bank clients to ensure that projects do not present unacceptable integrity or reputational risks to the Bank. The Bank believes that identifying and resolving issues at the project assessment approval stages is the most effective means of ensuring the integrity of Bank transactions. OCCO plays a key role in these protective efforts, and also helps to monitor integrity risks in projects post-investment.

OCCO is also responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct in EBRD-financed projects. Anyone, both within or outside the Bank, who suspects fraud or corruption should submit a written report to the Chief Compliance Officer by email to All matters reported will be handled by OCCO for follow-up. All reports, including anonymous ones, will be reviewed. Reports can be made in any language of the Bank or of the Bank's countries of operation. The information provided must be made in good faith.

Access to Information Policy (AIP)

The AIP sets out how the EBRD discloses information and consults with its stakeholders so as to promote better awareness and understanding of its strategies, policies and operations following its entry into force on 1 January 2020. Please visit the Access to Information Policy page to find out what information is available from the EBRD website.

Specific requests for information can be made using the EBRD Enquiries form.

Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM)

If efforts to address environmental, social or public disclosure concerns with the Client or the Bank are unsuccessful (e.g. through the Client’s Project-level grievance mechanism or through direct engagement with Bank management), individuals and organisations may seek to address their concerns through the EBRD’s Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM).

IPAM independently reviews Project issues that are believed to have caused (or to be likely to cause) harm. The purpose of the Mechanism is: to support dialogue between Project stakeholders to resolve environmental, social and public disclosure issues; to determine whether the Bank has complied with its Environmental and Social Policy or Project-specific provisions of its Access to Information Policy; and where applicable, to address any existing non-compliance with these policies, while preventing future non-compliance by the Bank.

Please visit the Independent Project Accountability Mechanism webpage to find out more about IPAM and its mandate; how to submit a Request for review; or contact IPAM  via email to get guidance and more information on IPAM and how to submit a request.


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