The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 20 million to Hypo Tirol Bank AG in support of small-scale projects carried out by SMEs. The loan is focused on financing projects in the Federal State of Tyrol, Austria, and in other EU Member States.

To increase the access of SMEs to long-term financing, the EIB closely cooperates with well-established financial institutions with local market expertise, especially in providing services to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs through a well-developed network of branches. The loan to Hypo Tirol Bank AG is the first EIB loan of this kind granted to this financial institution and it will increase the number of financial intermediaries on-lending EIB funds to SMEs in Austria to ten.

Part of the loan is dedicated to supporting local infrastructure projects usually promoted by municipalities. EIB loans to partner banks have been developed as a successful tool for providing long-term funding for financing smaller projects with total costs from EUR 40 000 to EUR 25 million. They consist of credit lines to financial intermediaries that on-lend EIB funds under their own management, at their own risk and on their own terms.

The EIB, the European Union's long-term financing institution, finances economically viable investment projects that contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. Outside the Union the EIB implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies.

The EIB has provided loans in Austria totalling some EUR 5.6 billion during the five years since 2002. Intermediary loans financing investments of SMEs and municipalities represent the biggest share of EIB lending over this period totalling EUR 2 billion or 36%, followed by lending to the transport sector - EUR 1.2 billion or 21% and support for health and education projects amounting to EUR 705 million or 13%.