The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 200 million to La Caixa for lending dedicated to SMEs throughout Spain.

The support will go to SMEs investing to increase their own productivity, including investment in RDI as foreseen by the EU Lisbon Strategy to foster a knowledge-based competitive European economy, as well as in promoting rational use and diversification of energy, in protecting the natural and urban environment and, finally, in education and health sector schemes developed by private initiative.

The EIB resources will allow La Caixa to offer SMEs longer-term loans at advantageous financial conditions, particularly lower interest rates than would otherwise be offered.

La Caixa is the largest savings bank in Spain and its third largest banking group. It has a rich network of more than 5000 experienced offices established to serve a very broad client based, notably the SME players.

In the 20 years since Spain joined the EU more than EUR 8 billion have been global loans provided by the EIB to support SMEs. Global loans totaling some EUR 16 billion have allowed underpinning more than 40 000 investment projects of SMEs, local governments, other public sector entities, as well as private companies working under concession.

The EIB Group is steadily orienting its SMEs financial support towards investment advancing science and technology-based innovation to create new products and processes, to improve the EU's energy security and management and to protect the natural resources and environment.

With the establishment of the European Investment Fund office in Madrid, the EIB Group will follow closely the evolution of demand from SMEs for more flexible risk-based financial instruments such as risk capital and guarantees.