EIB and Belfius to provide EUR 400 million for Belgian SMEs
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 200 million loan agreement with Belfius Bank to increase the amount of credit available to SMEs and midcaps (companies with up to 3 000 employees) in Belgium. Belfius Bank will match this EIB funding with the same amount, meaning that a total of EUR 400 million will be available to support Belgian small and medium-sized businesses.
The agreement will serve to support the economic development of small and medium-sized businesses as well as financing their long-term investments and working capital needs.
This loan has been granted under the EIB’s policy of supporting the economic development of small and medium-sized businesses by providing credit on preferential terms including longer maturities, flexible disbursement schedules and lower interest rates to foster job creation. These improved terms will be passed on to the end borrowers.
Loans to SMEs have long been a focus of the EIB’s financing activities. Together with the EIF (the European Investment Fund which is also part of the EIB Group), it has already approved in the current year alone a record of ca. EUR 21 billion for small and medium-sized businesses and mid-cap companies in Europe.
This cooperation between Belfius Bank and the EIB provides important support for SME and Midcap investments, which play a crucial role in the Belgian economy.
On this occasion Mr. Pim van Ballekom, Vice-Chairman of the EIB, said: “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are spearheads of the economy and they provide two thirds of the jobs in Europe. Whilst difficult market conditions persist, with restricted access to credit, the EIB will not flinch in providing such enterprises with the means to support their projects and to develop their competitiveness. Supporting economic growth and job creation remains the priority objective of the European Investment Bank, in Belgium and throughout the European Union.”
On signing, Dirk Gyselinck, Member of the Management Board of Belfius Bank, stated: “As the long-time partner of many SME and Midcorp businesses, Belfius is committed to assisting and supporting them on a daily basis, at the various stages of their development, in particular by offering them solutions tailored to fund their projects. So Belfius Bank is delighted to be able, by way of this major agreement signed with the EIB, to provide these companies with even more support and transpose into reality its commitment to provide real added value to the community.”