The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an agreement with Banca Agrileasing, a member of the Istituto centrale delle Casse rurali e artigiane (ICCREA) Group, for a loan totalling EUR 327m for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In the past month, the EIB has granted loans totalling nearly EUR 600m to this sector. These agreements come under the institutional policy currently being pursued by the EIB in cooperation with banking groups to enhance SMEs’ access to credit as Europe emerges from the economic crisis.

Under this agreement, projects of up to EUR 12.5m promoted by industrial and services SMEs throughout Italy are eligible for financing. Thanks to this financial leasing facility, the EIB funds will be advanced to the beneficiary SMEs via Banca Agrileasing, which distributes its products either directly or through its extensive network of cooperative banks (Banche di Credito Cooperativo - BCC). The new financing rules governing SMEs, which provide for more streamlined loan application and disbursement procedures, will be applied. This agreement with the ICCREA Group is particularly innovative as the cooperative bank’s extensive network in Italy will enable the finance to be made available to SMEs operating in rural areas far from large urban centres.

Specifically, this loan was set up as a structured securitisation operation via ICCREA Banca.

Other SME operations entered into by the EIB in Italy over the past month include a EUR 150m loan to Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna (BPER) and its leasing arm Sardaleasing and a EUR 100m loan to Cariparma Group (Cassa di Risparmio di Parma e Piacenza, Banca Popolare Friuladria and Crédit Agricole Leasing Italia).


The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by granting long-term loans for economically viable investment projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 27 EU Member States. Italy is one of the four leading shareholders, along with the United Kingdom, Germany and France, each holding a 16.2% stake in the Bank.