EIB first ever trade finance facility for Greece
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The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides up to EUR 500 million for trade finance to support foreign trade oriented small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in Greece. The EIB, as a long-term lender, has adapted to the needs of the real economy in Greece and enlarged its tool-kit with a short-term lending instrument to support international trade by Greek companies. The Bank will provide guarantees to the commercial banks for trade financing to be utilised on a revolving basis to support a volume of transactions in the order of EUR 1.5 billion per year.
The finance agreements were signed today in Athens in a public ceremony attended by the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Antonis Samaras, the Minister of Finance, Yiannis Stournaras, and the Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Kostis Hatzidakis. EIB Vice President responsible for Greece, Mihai Tanasescu, signed on behalf of the EIB, in the presence of EIB President Werner Hoyer.
On this occasion, EIB President Werner Hoyer stated: “I am pleased to be in Athens today for the signing of the trade finance agreements for Greece. The EIB is a long-term lender and so trade finance products have never featured in our portfolio. As the EU bank, however, we felt that we should provide Greece with the tools it most needs under the current circumstances, so we developed this new facility, which we have inaugurated here in Greece today. Under the Trade Finance facility, the EIB will act as a secure bridge between leading Greek and foreign banks to the benefit of Greek SMEs in the import-export sector. The EIB will play a critical role in mitigating the risk perception of the commercial banks that are no longer able to provide these services and we will enable them to be resumed at a time when Greece needs trade finance in order to pursue export-led growth for its economic recovery. Our presence here today underlines our commitment to and trust in Greece.”
Through the Trade Finance facility, the EIB will provide foreign banks with appropriate guarantees in favour of the Greek banks for letters of credit and other trade finance instruments. This will both alleviate cash collateral constraints otherwise imposed on most SMEs and increase access to international trade instruments at a time when trade has a significant role to play in economic development.
The finance agreements were signed with three systemic Greek banks and three foreign banks. For the Greek banks, Alexandros Tourkolias, CEO of National Bank of Greece S.A., Stavros Lekkakos, Managing Director & CEO of Piraeus Bank S.A., and Nicholas Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank Egasias S.A. signed. For the foreign banks, Jay Collins, Vice Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi, Richard Groves, CEO, HSBC Greece, and Angela Kurrle, Managing Director of Commerzbank AG, signed.